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Wood County Commission receives PSD task force member list

PARKERSBURG — The members of the task force to look into possibly consolidating the local public service districts into one entity were named and approved Thursday.

The Wood County Commission was presented with a list of 16 people representing Claywood Park PSD, Central Boaz PSD, Lubeck PSD, Mineral Wells PSD and Union Williams PSD as well as the public utility boards of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown. The commission unanimously approved the list.

Local PSD officials met with the Wood County Commission on Monday along with West Virginia Public Service Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Lane who spoke on the issue of consolidation. Lane had said Monday the idea of consolidation was not popular with some people, but there could be advantages in doing it, especially now with money coming in to the counties from the American Recovery Act. Some of that could be used on issues where a lack of money was a hindrance in the past.

The city utility boards were included on the task force because of connection issues with the PSDs and each other as well as the municipal utility boards are covering areas outside their city limits.

Commission President Blair Couch said it was good all the PSDs and public utility boards put people on the task force.

The list will be sent to the Public Service Commission who will assign someone to help with the legal issues. The commission will also assign someone to attend to take minutes.

The meetings, which will start within 45 days, will be open to the public, but public input will not be sought until an initial plan is drawn up.

Commission Jimmy Colombo commended Jerry Martin, one of the appointees from Lubeck PSD, for his comments during Monday’s hearing. Martin said he was not for or against consolidating, but wanted the opportunity to look at the facts to come up with the best decision.

“I was impressed with his openness and fairness to look at the things the way they ought to be looked at,” Colombo said. “I appreciate that. It is good to hear that from someone who has been on the (PSD) board for 20 years and have a willingness to look.”

Martin, who was at the meeting Thursday, said consolidation has happened elsewhere in the past and it was a matter of looking and seeing if it could be done.

Some of the issues officials have include differences in rates between the PSDs, bond issues in certain districts and more.

“I am trying to gather the facts and do the due diligence we need to do to do it right,” Martin said. “We have to take those steps and it isn’t going to happen overnight.”

In other business:

* The commission unanimously approved a resolution supporting the goals of “Reimagine Appalachia” to rebuild Appalachia for the 21st Century through new infrastructure utilizing hydroelectric and other renewable sources like solar power which in turn would help create new technical jobs to install and maintain these systems.

Officials said Wood County does not have the coal and gas resources other parts of the state have and should look at ways to be able to enhance the local economy.

“The economy should celebrate our culture our heritage, invest in our communities, generate good stable meaningful jobs…,” the resolution said.

* In talking about some of the drug treatment facilities in the area, officials felt the West Virginia Attorney General’s Medicare Fraud Unit should look at some of the facilities being set up in this area and around the state that are billing through Medicare/Medicaid as well as other aspects of the business. A number of communities locally are looking at moratoriums on drug treatment facilities.

* The owners of property located at 66 Blaze Run Road, Walker, signed over the property to the county to clean it up. The property has had problems with trash, debris and upkeep. The owners do not have the means to clean up the property themselves.

* The commission visited the 4-H and FFA Summer Showcase at the 4-H Camp on Butcher Bend Road near Mineral Wells. The commission has contributed money, along with other donations made from the community, for barn updates and other work and officials wanted to see the work that was done as well as visit with some of the people showing livestock and other projects this week.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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Task Force Members

Claywood Park PSD

* Michael Miller, board member

* Shayne Brabham, General Manager

Central Boaz PSD

* Paul Tingler, board member

* AJ Allen, Office Manager

Lubeck PSD

* Jerry Martin, board member

* Rocky McConnell, Manager

Mineral Wells PSD

* Mark Stewart, board member

* Todd Anderson, Operations Manager

Union Williams PSD

* Steve Nulter, board member

* Kelley Sanders, General Manager

Parkersburg

* Eric Bennett

* Paul Hoblitzell

Vienna

* Randy Rapp

* Craig Metz

Williamstown

* Pat Peters

* Alan Gates

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