By Jean A. Flanagan
Wardensville Mayor Greg Alderman recommended the town council appoint Ed Klinovski to the last remaining vacant seat on council. The council approved the recommendation at the Monday, May 8 meeting.
Klinovski has lived in Wardensville since 2004 and has volunteered in a number of different capacities. He helps public works director Erich Atkinson keep the grass cut and trimmed around town.
Klinovski most recently works with the town’s Beautification Committee and has spearheaded efforts to place concrete planters throughout the town.
Park and Pool
Councilwoman Grace Garrett told council it is doubtful the pool will be open this season, because of a lack of life guards.
“Even after we raised the wages, we didn’t have anyone apply,” she said.
[private] “Most college students want full time jobs and we are only open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Garrett said the salary was comparable to other life guard jobs in the area, but so far, they’ve had no calls.
“There will be a park cleanup, the third Saturday in May,” she said.
Terry Lively, director of the Region 8 Planning and Development Council spoke to the council about the project to repaint the town’s water storage tanks.
It was estimated the project would cost in the neighborhood of $700,000 and that amount was comparable to a new tank. Town residents wondered why council was considering repainting if a new tank cost the same amount of money.
“When I get those numbers solidified, we’ll look at the grant-loan situation,” he said. “The money will probably come from a combination of state and federal sources, most likely the RUS (Rural Utility Service division of the US Department of Agriculture).”
Lively said Dunn Engineering had been interviewed for the tank repair, but a contact had not been signed. “When the PSD ball started rolling, we took Dunn out of the picture,” he said.
Under the previous administration, the town was in the process of investigating turning the water and sewer operation and management over to the Hardy County Public Service District.
After a vote by the council to stop going in that direction, the mayor and recorder resigned.
Councilman David Twedt asked about the timeframe to replace or repair the tank.
“Probably about 12 months,” Lively said. “Although 8 – 10 months of that would be to get funding. If they’re tearing out an old tank and putting in a new one, they can do it in about two to three weeks.”
Lively was instrumental in getting a “second opinion” on the town’s sewer lagoon system.
“I had somebody look at the lagoon that didn’t have a financial stake in it,” he said. “L. A. Gates wanted some exposure and we needed someone with fresh eyes. They said the lagoon was in good shape for the shape its in.”
Engineers L. A. Gates reported the town needed to purchase some equipment to make the sewer lagoon function more efficiently. They also suggested a new chemical building be built.
“You can’t just abandon that lagoon,” Lively said. “It would cost a lot of money to mitigate it.”
Lively said the town should concentrate on reducing the amount of water leakage they have. While it is estimated the current water leakage is around 25 percent, Public Works Director Erich Atkinson said over the past three years, the leakage has been about 46 percent.
The consensus of council was the exorbitant amount of leakage was because the town pool leaked significantly for two of those three years.
“You have a small system and you have a leak detector, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find the leaks,” Lively said.
Atkinson said the current leakage was probably because of faulty water meters. “We will be getting new meters that will measure actual usage,” he said.
Atkinson requested the council enforce an ordinance on the books that requires every business to have back flow valves on their water lines.
“We need to do a survey of businesses to see if they already have them,” he said. “The ordinance, passed in 1997, says they have to have them and they need to be inspected every year.”
Atkinson said back flow valves will prevent contamination of the town’s water system and cost about $230.
Town Clerk Theresa Ramsey said a letter would be drafted to all businesses on the water system, explaining why they must have the valves and establishing a deadline to be in compliance.
The council voted to proceed as soon as possible with a Sept. 30 deadline.
Water and Sewer Rate Increase
Ramsey said she spoke with several small town clerks about their water and sewer rates. She said the Harper’s Ferry clerk was especially helpful.
“She helped me find information on doing our own increase,” Ramsey said.
“They do a small increase annually. She pointed me to the EPA guidebook and a PSC checklist.
“Our biggest problem is going to be the state-mandated 12 percent reserve. We need that right off the bat.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission governs utilities within the state. Last year the state Legislature made sweeping changes in water system governance, including requiring all utilities and municipalities carry a reserve fund equal to 12 percent of their annual budget.
Ramsey said she also spoke with a few Certified Public Accountants and they told her only a few accountants in the state will compute a rate increase.
The computation is commonly called a Rule 42, which compares expenses and debt with number of customers and water usage to determine an equitable rate.
Ramsey said once the annual report is filed with the PSC, someone will review it and answer questions about a rate increase.
“Our accountant is working on the annual report and it is almost ready to file,” she said.
•The council tabled discussion on the employee handbook.
•The council tabled discussion on their application for Home Rule. Ramsey said SB 441 was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by the Governor. It may be re-introduced and would grant Home Rule status to any municipality.
•The council voted to maintain the same cleaning person.
•Mayor Alderman appointed Charlotte Bowman as his representative on the Wardensville Planning Commission. Councilwoman Maureen Martin volunteered to represent the council on that commission.
•Bowman reported the Planning Commission is currently working on the town’s comprehensive plan. The Planning Commission meets the 4th Monday of each month at 7 p.m. and the meetings are open to the public.
•The next meeting of the Wardensville Council will be held on Monday, June 12 beginning at 7 p.m. The meetings are held at the Conference and Visitors Center on Main Street. The public is invited to attend.