The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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December 4, 2013

Raleigh County Commission plans to consolidate PSDs into one

BECKLEY — The Raleigh County Commission began the first steps toward a potential county-wide public service district consolidation during Tuesday’s meeting.

The commission expressed intent to consolidate the Glen White-Trap Hill PSD, the Cool Ridge-Flat Top PSD and the Raleigh County PSD into a single public service district to serve all of Raleigh County.

Joseph Purdue, office manager of the Glen White-Trap Hill PSD, addressed the commission to express that he did not feel that Glen White-Trap Hill PSD needed to be consolidated, citing several improvements to services in the last year.

Purdue said that the PSD has been working to update their water service, so far affecting about 60 percent of their customers. The PSD has also made several improvements to technology and cut their consumption from Beckley water by more than 80 million gallons, he said.

“We’re well on our way toward being a solid PSD again,” Purdue said. “We’re doing quite well.”

Commissioner Pat Reed said while she commends the improvements, the district has had a rocky history.

“There’s been difficulty in meeting the needs of the organization with what monies are brought in from your water customers,” Reed said. “We, as a commission, have had to supplement that income in the last 11 years in order for (the Glen White-Trap Hill PSD) to be able to meet (its) needs.”

“That’s why if we have one organization that would take care of all this, we could cut the cost tremendously,” Reed said.

Purdue said that as of recent, the PSD has been making profits and is no longer behind on any bond payments.

“Our monies coming in are well above what’s going out,” Purdue said.

“This isn’t something the commissioners thought of overnight,” Commissioner David Tolliver said. “It’s something we’ve discussed thoroughly.

“It’s basically economics. We have three offices that we could cut down to one,” Tolliver said, adding that they would also be able to centralize their equipment, rather than having it spread three ways across the county.  

Tolliver said that he encourages concerned community members to attend the public hearing for the PSD consolidation plan set for Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. The hearing will take place in Judge Burnside’s courtroom, also known as the ceremonial courtroom, in the main Courthouse.

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In other business, the commission approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority to use their equipment to demolish the old Trap Hill High School.

Commissioner Reed said that the building is in terrible condition and very dangerous.

“Our equipment is not big enough, but we will be using our county equipment officers to level the property,” Reed said.

Demolition will begin in the next few weeks, Reed said.

Lastly, commission approved a grant to allocate funds to the Slab Fork Community Group for park improvements.

The next Raleigh County Commission meeting will be held Dec. 17 at 10 a.m.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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