(02/18/2012)
By David Hedges, Publisher
Times Record/Roane County Reporter

After years of waiting, some residents south of Arnoldsburg finally have access to public water.

A water line extension to homes along W.Va. 16 is now complete, members of Mt. Zion Public Service District learned Monday.

"Service is available. It's on," project engineer Jim Hildreth told, PSD members Sharon Postalwait, Roscoe "Cokey" Gainer II and Shirley Mace during their meeting at the Arnoldsburg Community Building.

Hildreth said the service was available Feb. 7, to all homes along W.Va. 16, except for two that will require the services of a directional driller to get water lines across the West Fork.

He said the dri1ler was supposed to start work this week.

Hildreth said the remainder of the project, to serve customers along U.S. 33/119 to Sand Ridge, would be in operation by mid-March.

Work on the project that began in 2010 was originally to have been complete by last July. The $5.2 million project will serve approximately 200 customers.

Also on Monday, PSD members learned that repair of leaks was helping cut the bill for water purchased from the town of Grantsville.

Andy Collins, who has been working on the leaks, said four fire hydrants Arnoldsburg Volunteer Fire Dept. reported were not working will be repaired as soon as parts arrive. Collins said the W.Va. Public Service Commission said the hydrants needed to be' repaired by mid-March.

A state inspection of the sewage treatment plant also found several deficiencies. Jimmie Starcher, a retired water and sewage operator from Reedy, is working on several corrective measures steps including installing a flow meter and lift station pumps.

Members also discussed recommendations in a draft audit report for 2009-10 prepared by a Parkersburg CPA firm.

Perry & Associates recommended that board members receive monthly bank reconciliations and a list of payables for approval.

The PSD should begin using purchase orders, posting deposits in a timely manner and handling unpaid accounts in a more consistent manner, the audit recommended.

Those who work for the PSD should also be paid as employees, instead of independent contractors, the audit said.

"We have corrected a lot of these issues" clerk Norma Collins said.

"The good news is the books balance and all the money is there," PSD attorney Tom Whittier said. "The bad news is some of the procedures need cleaned up, but you have already addressed a lot of these.

PSD members agreed to meet again at 5 p.m. Feb. 16 to address the concerns before the audit is finalized.

The PSD discussed an invoice presented by Tom Fluharty of B&T Battery Doctor for more than $51,000 for past work. Fluharty has requested payment of $1000 per month, with a late charge of $250 if the monthly payment is not paid. He is not requesting any interest on the debt.

Members agreed to review payables at their Thursday meeting. Dick Ullum, who did not attend the meeting, is also requesting payment of more than $18,000.

Also on Thursday, the PSD:

* Agreed to allow Whittier to negotiate a contract with Dunn Engineers for a proposed project to upgrade the sewage system.

* Heard a report from water operator in training Grant Clark, who said last month he could not locate 90 meters during meter reading, a number that was down to 22 this month.

* Held a 13-minute executive session with Whittier for reasons that were not specified in the motion.

Collin's said the PSD had a special meeting earlier to hire a new billing clerk, Patty Cottrell, to replace Britney Jones, who resigned at the January meeting.

So far, the Mt. Zion PSD has not sought any penalities against the contractor, and the topic was not discussed at the meeting.


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