MOUNTAINEER XPRESS COMPRESSOR STATION STILL ON CALHOUN TARGET - Minnie Hamilton Ambulance Service Reports Financial Crisis

(09/16/2016)

The Calhoun Commission was told Monday that the Mountaineer Xpress White Oak compressor station, to be located in a remote area of southern Calhoun with a few miles of the pipeline crossing the county, is still on track.

The project has been slowed down related to regulatory issues, and the sale of the Columbia Pipeline Group to TransCanada.

Brittany Carns, manager of community relations, told the commissioners that final agreements affecting the distribution of taxes to the county, would not likely occur until 2017.

The county commission will be making a decision regarding a taxation agreement, either through a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) or a standard taxation system.

Commissioner Chip Westfall said using the PILOT tax method could allow tax receipts being designated to county schools, while the general tax system funds would go into county tax coffers to be spent for county operations or projects.

Calhoun school officials have yet to come up with a plan to use PILOT funds to reduce the nearly $1.7 million deficit facing the county school system, a condition set by county commissioners.

The federal agency regulating the construction of pipelines will rule in November, and a 90-day period for public comment will begin before final approval.

The Columbia official assured the commission that that the pipeline and compressor will be built to standards at or exceeding federal safety standards.

Carns also reported that the company is working with Calhoun Assessor Jason Nettles to get the property on which the compressor station will be built deeded and taxed in Calhoun County.

The compressor station will be built on a parcel of land that is in both Ritchie and Calhoun Counties, but the compressor station will be in Calhoun County.

Commissioner Kevin Helmick said, "It seems that the Columbia project is still moving in the right direction for the county. Even though there has been some set backs due to the TransCanada buy out of Columbia, I believe this could one of the best things that has ever happened to the county financially."

Carns assured the commissioners that the company was working to make sure any agreement made with the commission and the Calhoun school system will be up to state code.

“This may be our chance to get in on the Marcellus gas boom,” said Commissioner Chip Westfall, “and we are doing all we can to assist Columbia with this project. This has the potential to benefit most of the citizens of the county.”

AMBULANCE SERVICE ISSUE RAISED BY MHHS

An important issue regarding the future of ambulance service in Calhoun was raised this week.

Minnie Hamilton Health System advised the commission Monday that the costs of providing 24/7 emergency medical ambulance service to the county has become a burden on the hospitals finances.

Chief Financial Officer William Given told the commissioners that Minnie Hamilton intends to sub-contract the service to a private provider.

MHHS says that the service is coming up several hundred thousand dollars short.

The county shifted Emergency Services Levy money to Minnie Hamilton following the collapse of Calhoun County Emergency Ambulance Service, which gives some assistance with their financial operations, about $80,000 annually.

The ambulance issue will be further discussed during the October 10 meeting of the commission.

Commissioner Chip Westfall said, "It's our responsibility to provide the best service the county can afford. We will have to look at all options."

"I'm ever cautious moving forward with Minnie Hamilton wanting to move to a third party to contract out ambulance service," said commissioner Kevin Helmick.

"My first question would be why do we need a third party. How will this affect the people in the county? I think there are several questions that need to be addressed," Helmick said.

ARTICLES RELATED TO MOUNTAINEER XPRESS DEVELOPMENT

MOUNTAINEER XPRESS $2.7 BILLION NATURAL GAS PROJECT COMING TO REGION

SMITHVILLE PUBLIC MEETING THURSDAY: $2 BILLION 36" PIPELINE CROSSING SHORT SECTION OF NORTHERN CALHOUN - $100 Million Compressor Station Proposed In County

LOCATION OF $100 MILLION COLUMBIA COMPRESSOR STATION IN CALHOUN NOT A DONE DEAL

COMMISSIONER WESTFALL SAYS $100 MILLION COLUMBIA COMPRESSOR STATION WILL BE IN CALHOUN

CALHOUN COMMISSION MEETS WITH COLUMBIA PIPELINE REGARDING TAXATION OF COMPRESSOR STATION - Considers Pilot Proposal Benefiting Calhoun Schools, Funds To Be Applied To $1.7 Million Deficit

COLUMBIA PIPELINE BUILDER SEEKING TAX BREAKS - Counties Could Benefit Too

COLUMBIA PIPELINE ON SELLING BLOCK? - Mountaineer Xpress Development Connected To Calhoun

TRANSCANADA PURCHASES COLUMBIA PIPELINE - Columbia Mountaineer Xpress Project Affects Calhoun

CALHOUN COMMISSION SAYS $94 MILLION COMPRESSOR STATION STILL ON TRACK DESPITE OWNERSHIP CHANGE


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