Wyoming County commissioners agreed to loan the Ravencliff-McGraws-Saulsville Public Service District the cost of a new pump and installation during their meeting Wednesday.

Several months ago, the commission gave the PSD the funding for all testing and a new pump as part of the water extension project into New Richmond and Cabin Creek areas, Commissioner Silas Mullins said.

However, the pump only worked for two days. The PSD nor the commission could reach the local contractor to replace the pump.

As a result, Gene Reid, PSD chairman, contacted a different contractor in Virginia. The contractor installed the new pump within a couple of days and it has worked at full capacity since, Reid told the commission.

In order to have the new pump installed, however, Reid had to personally guarantee payment estimated at $17,000. The final bill came in under the estimate, totaling $15,836, he said.

Cost for the new pump will be repaid to the commission once state and federal money is released for the water extension project, which should be in 30 to 60 days, Reid said.

The final bids for the extension were to be opened Thursday, he said, and it is only a matter of going through the process now.

Reid said once the original contractor honors the warranty on the defective pump, the PSD will also have a much needed backup pump.

Among the nearly 1,500 Ravencliff-McGraws-Saulsville customers are Twin Falls Resort State Park, Wyoming County East High School, Wyoming Continuous Care and Rehabilitation Center, and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

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In other business, the commission conducted the second public hearing on a rate increase for the county “landfill” on Airport Road and transfer stations in Baileysville, Glen Fork, and Tralee from $1.10 to $1.40 per 33-gallon trash bag and from $2.10 to $2.50 for large 55-gallon bags.

Four hundred pounds of loose garbage at the “landfill” will go to $12.50.

The increases will go into effect Jan. 2.

The commission has asked the West Virginia Public Service Commission to approve the rate increase.

The county has not raised the rates since 2003, Mullins said during the first hearing, and is losing money on the public service.

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In another matter, Craig Rhodes asked the commission to create an ordinance that requires homeowners in the county to purchase a permit before doing any work on their houses.

Rhodes, who operates a construction business, complained that outside the municipalities, no permit is required and unlicensed people are getting the work.

These people are also receiving disability or other government benefits and working “under the table,” which is illegal, according to Rhodes.

Dean Meadows, county Emergency Services director, said the only permit currently required in unincorporated limits of the county is when a homeowner changes the footprint of his/her house. Then, the addition must be constructed above the floodplain to keep it out of harm’s way.

To put on a new roof or install new windows or siding does not currently require any type of permit.

Rhodes said, based on his own calculations, the county could make about $30,000 annually by requiring people to obtain a $25 permit to work on their homes.

Commissioner Silas Mullins said then the county would have to spend $40,000 to hire an inspector to police home renovations.

“We can make policy, but you can’t make policy without enforcement,” Mullins told Rhodes.

If an ordinance is enacted, Rhodes wants the sheriff’s office to police home renovations to make sure the homeowner has purchased a permit.

As a business owner, Rhodes also has to pay property tax on his equipment, he said, while those working “under the table” are not.

Mike Cook, assessor, said his staff makes note of contractors with signs on the side of trees or utility poles and other locations and follows up to make sure they are paying the required taxes whether or not they have a business license.

Prosecutor Mike Cochrane and Meadows will examine the possibility of a new ordinance before the next meeting, Mullins said.

Cochrane also told commissioners that they will receive $60,000 annually from Shentel as a result of the franchise fees the company began collecting in September.

Cochrane negotiated the 5 percent the commission will receive.

Shentel created a lot of controversy and confusion for customers when their August bills contained a statement that the fee would be collected for the “Wyoming County Franchise Authority,” which does not exist.

The fees collected are already being received by the commission, according to officials.

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