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CURRENT STORIES


PSC could decide sewer case

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

A disagreement between Bridgeport and Harrison County over a sewer project could be resolved by the state.

County commissioners Thursday approved a letter requesting the state Public Service Commission to help determine who has jurisdiction over a sewer extension project for the Lakeland Terrace subdivision, on Route 76 outside of Bridgeport.

County officials believe the area is in the Greater Harrison Public Service District's jurisdiction. Bridgeport officials believe it is in their service area.

Estimated price tag for the project is $742,000, said Dan Ferrell, Bridgeport city engineer.

Greater Harrison has plans to extend service to the Lakeland area within the next two years, Commissioner Beth Taylor said. If that agency handles the project, the cost will be shared by all of its customers.

Bridgeport, however, will charge Lakeland residents an additional fee to cover the costs, Ferrell said.

"We want Greater Harrison," said Robert Brunswick, president of the Lakeland Terrace Association. "Without a doubt, we want Greater Harrison."

The subdivision was built in the 1970s, Brunswick said. It now has 60 homes.

Over the years, other homes have tapped into the subdivision's sewer line, which carries treated liquid from two 8,000-gallon septic tanks to Simpson Creek, he said.

The discharge into that line from Lakeland Terrace is clear, liquid sewage, he said. But raw sewage, including solid waste, is coming from the other homes using the line, Brunswick said. That has been the situation for about 30 years, he said.

Bridgeport officials cite health reasons for why they should not wait about two years for the Greater Harrison extension plan to happen, Ferrell said.

But Taylor believes that putting all of the burden on Lakeland residents would set a bad precedent.

"If that happens, we'd never have a sewer extension project again in West Virginia," she said.

In other action, commissioners:

n Reviewed the courthouse renovation plans with architect Bill Yoke. Work is nearly complete in the new courtroom on the first floor, with the contractor scheduled to put finishing touches on it next week. Commissioners also learned that the project exceeded the $350,000 bid by 3 percent. Yoke said that was acceptable given the size of the project.

n Discussed the possibility of banning county officials from giving bonuses to employees because of a dispute over such a matter in Kanawha County. The state attorney general's office and auditor's office differ on whether the practice is legal under state law. Kanawha County has enacted such a ban.

Administrator Jim Harris said no elected county officials have recently given bonuses. He said he plans to get a copy of that order from the Kanawha County Commission.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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