The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 20, 2014

Oak Hill board resists sewer purchase

The Oak Hill Sanitary Board formally opposed a recent discussion involving the potential purchase of Oak Hill’s sewer system during its regular meeting on Wednesday.

During last month’s Sanitary Board meeting, Oak Hill resident Billy Legg, an equipment operator, expressed his interest in potentially purchasing Oak Hill’s sewer system from the city. Legg also attended the Oak Hill City Council meeting March 10 to further explain his interest in the facility.

“Oak Hill has several bad drainage problems,” Legg said at the March 10 meeting. “One of them mainly goes down to (the) Arbuckle (PSD) plant. The other one is on (the) east end of Oak Hill where you have a pump system set up over there.”

Legg also mentioned several other perceived sewer problems to council, to which Oak Hill Mayor Fred Dickinson replied that the Oak Hill Sanitary Board must make a decision on whether it desires to sell the utility before the topic of is formally presented to the council.

The Oak Hill Sanitary Board addressed the matter as part of their “old business” portion of the agenda on Wednesday, and their stance on the matter was not unpredicted by council at last week’s meeting.

The board passed a motion stating the following: “The Oak Hill Sanitary Board strongly recommends that the city council of the City of Oak Hill does not sell the sewer utility to Billy Legg now or into the foreseeable future,” the motion read.

“The sale of the sewer utility would have an adverse affect on the rate payer, both in rates and services, in the opinion of the sanitary board.”

The motion also included an explanation of why the sanity board deems Legg unsuitable for sewer facility ownership:

“Mr. Legg has no experience in operating or managing a sewer facility,” the motion stated, further adding that Legg has neither offered any evidence that he has the financial ability to purchase the sewer utility nor secured the services of an accountant or engineer.

“The sanitary board has received no correspondence from Mr. Legg or his attorney,” the motion finished.

Legg did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.

William Hannabass, Oak Hill Sanitary Board chairman, stated that the matter will be a part of Oak Hill City Council’s April 14 meeting agenda, but does not anticipate that council’s opinion will differ from that of the sanitary board’s.

 

Under new business, the Oak Hill Sanitary Board began an early discussion regarding the potential consolidation of Oak Hill Sanitary Board and Arbuckle Public Service District.

“There’s been some developments with the consolidation,” Hannabass said.

A preliminary analysis of Arbuckle PSD was reviewed, and the board motioned to approve funds for a further analysis regarding the consolidation’s feasibility.

The board agreed that the Oak Hill Sanitary Board could expend funds up to $1,500 for the services of Michael Griffith and Associates, a Charleston-based accounting and consultancy firm, to review the possible impacts of Oak Hill Sanitary Board’s consolidation with the Arbuckle PSD.

The board specified that the review would be in relation to the current Oak Hill sewer renovation project, the potential effect on rates and other items deemed pertinent.

The sewer consolidation topic with be further discussed at the board’s April 16 meeting.

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

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