|Delinquent customers will see service cut off|
By David Hedges, Publisher
Struggling with overdue bills of almost $85,000, including nearly
$30,000 owed to their own system operators, Mt. Zion Public Service
District is looking forward to higher water rates.
The PSD has applied to the W.Va. Public Service Commission for not
one - but two rate increases.
One is an emergency rate increase to help pay expenses. The other is
to cover a rate hike from the PSD's water supplier, the Grantsville waterworks, which raised Mt. Zion PSD's water bill by about $2,000 per
PSD administrative assistant Norma Collins told PSD members
Sharon Postalwait, Roscoe "Cokey" Gainer and Shirley Mace the two
increases the PSD is seeking, combined, would amount to about 30
percent more on the average water customer's bill.
She said both requests were pending before the WV PSC.
"Hopefully, that approval will come very soon," Collins said during
a PSD meeting Monday at Arnoldsburg.
PSD members and water and sewer operators Tom Fluharty and
Harold "Dick" Ullum also discussed problems with customers who don't
pay their bill but continue to receive water.
This was after Ullum pointed out that the two men, working as
contractors for the system, are owed almost $30,000 by the PSD.
"That's why you aren't getting paid, people are
stealing the water," was a response.
Fred Rader of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council said the PSD
needed to prove a point to customers who ignore their bills.
"You need to develop the reputation that if they don't pay, their water is turned off," Rader advised.
With the green light from PSD members, the men said they would
start shutting customers off the next morning.
They also discussed a temporary problem with a pressure regulator
that caused some customers' water pressure to spike suddenly.
The PSD agreed to a request from one customer that they give her credit on her water bill of almost $150 to pay for replacing a water heater.
Fluharty said most customers were understanding of the problem,
including one who was on the toilet when the water pressure suddenly
"He got a bath," Fluharty said.
The PSD approved drawdowns of funds from the water line extension
project under construction, which engineer Jim Hildreth said was 11
Approved were payments of $227,742.70 to contractor Bruce Allen
Inc., $16,109.50 to engineers, Boyles & Hildreth, and $5,398.20 to
project attorney Tom Whittier.
The PSD also approved another drawdown to Bruce Allen, for over
$350,000, after earlier questions were answered regarding the pipe
that was being installed.
Collins also reported that the sewer system was losing between $2,000
and $3,000 a month.
The PSD is pursuing funding for upgrades to the sewer system, but
for the second consecutive month no representative of the engineering
firm preparing the proposal, Dunn Engineering, attended the meeting.
That was after the company president assured members at the last
meeting he attended he would be at every meeting.
In other business, Collins said the W.Va. PSC would make a report to
the Calhoun County Commission Oct. 25 regarding an investigation of
the Mt. Zion PSD requested by the commission and PSD members.
PSD members agreed to move their next monthly meeting, usually
the second Monday of each month, to Monday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. at the
Arnoldsburg Community Building.