Commissioners Westfall (left) and Helmick say $94 million
compressor station will be great boon to keep Calhoun going
By Bob Weaver
County Commissioner Kevin Helmick said, "The $94 million dollar White Oak compressor very well could be the greatest financial asset to keep Calhoun County going during the past 50 to 100 years," likely since the early 20th Century coming of Hope and Cabot gas.
The TransCanada compressor, formerly Columbia Transmission, is on a remote ridge top area of the Leading Creek area near the Ritchie County line.
It is currently set for groundbreaking in January or February. Only a few miles of the 165-mile pipeline are located in the county, Helmick said.
Helmick said it's expected to bring the county about $400,000 a year in tax revenue, plus some very good jobs.
Commissioners visit remote site of proposed
White Oak Station on ridgetop near Ritchie line
"With the counties current financial constraints and the state cut backs, this could not be coming at a better time. Although since taxes come a year behind, it could take a year or two before we see the money to start coming in," said Helmick.
"Calhoun is very fortunate, the site is less than a hundred yards from the Ritchie county line. An issue over the station land being in Ritchie or Calhoun was re-mediated with Ritchie with their cooperation," said Commission President Chip Westfall.
"The Calhoun commissioners have spent many hours with the project over several years," he said, with federal officials saying the MountaineerXpress pipeline with compressors has had little opposition.
The commission abandoned a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) that the commission had proposed to help Calhoun Schools with what was declared as a $1.8 deficit. School officials were unable to come up with a concrete plan to use the revenue to directly reduce the deficit.
"Construction of the $2 billion line and compressors will take about a year. Transcanada has been up front in keeping the commission informed," said
"Maybe we can quit worrying about meeting our fiscal responsibilities and have a few dollars left over to do a few things," concluded Helmick.