Water again took center stage during the Wyoming County Commission meeting Wednesday.
“One step at a time,” Mike Goode, the county administrator, emphasized on more than one project discussed during the meeting.
Commissioners conducted a public hearing to amend the Hanover water project boundaries in order to begin paperwork that will eventually provide water to residents.
The boundaries of the Ravenclliff-McGraws-Saulsville Public Service District were reduced to eliminate the Hanover area.
That change will allow the Mingo County PSD to take over the planned Hanover water project.
The proposed $7 million Hanover project will be completed in phases and will be served by Justice, which buys water from Gilbert. Both the Justice water system and the Gilbert water plant will have to be upgraded to serve the new customers.
Phase one will take the project from the Mingo County line to Godfrey’s Corner and include the new Huff Consolidated Elementary and Middle School.
Phase two will extend the water into Ikes Fork.
“This will not happen tomorrow,” Goode emphasized.
“We have to take this in steps.”
Once the paperwork is completed, the next step is applying for funding, officials noted.
During the public hearing, commissioners also amended the Ravenclliff-McGraws-Saulsville PSD boundaries to remove the Coal Mountain area in order for that area to be served by the Logan County PSD.
The Coal Mountain water project has several funding sources for the $4.8 million plan that will bring water to 166 new customers. The per customer cost is $28,825, officials note.
A few people from the areas attended the hearing in support of the projects.
Officials cautioned that they will have to talk with their neighbors, who may be against the project.
In order for a project to move forward, at least 80 percent of residents have to agree to participate, explained Eric Combs, of Region I Planning and Development Council.
Over the last two decades, county officials have began several projects to bring water to the Hanover and Coal Mountain areas as well as North Spring and Ikes Fork.
The first plan included using water from R.D. Bailey Lake to serve the areas. That plan was scratched when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wanted nearly $300,000 a year for a variety of fees, including taking water from the lake, maintenance, among others.
Despite the efforts of county officials, the various plans have been scrapped for a variety of reasons.
Combs also provided an update on the Center PSD sewer project.
Additional easements have been required for the project which has added to the project costs, explained Susan Riggs, who serves as a legal consultant for water and sewer projects for the commission.
Combs said the commission needed to provide an additional $25,000 for the project to move forward.
The project begins at the AEP building in Pineville, extends along the back street, toward Tudor’s, Little General, Cook Memorial, then includes Goodsons’ Supermarket, Evans-Calfee Funeral Home, and three additional properties, Riggs said.
Most of the easements fringe the properties, Riggs said, but some lines are under homes. Those lines will be moved, she said.
Phase two of the project will extend the service into Rock View.
Another planned water project will extend water from Pineville to Brenton, serving 485 new customers, at a cost of $4 million, Combs said.
Phase one of the project will include Brenton, Marianna and Green Camp and end at Baileysville Elementary and Middle School.
Pineville needs to catch up on three years of audits in order to be eligible for Abandoned Mine Land funding.
That AML funding is critical to the project, according to officials.
There are reportedly two abandoned mines in the project area, which should make it eligible for the AML funding.
The process for the project was started in March 2016, Combs said.
The Brenton system is failing, with repair costs gobbling up the PSD finances.
To add to the problems, only one individual is available to make needed repairs.
A timeline as to when the project may move forward is difficult without adequate funding sources, officials note.
Currently, residents can only use the water to flush their toilets.
The Rural Water Association may be able to provide some assistance with how to clean up the water so that it can also be used for other needs, Goode said.
“It will be expensive,” he emphasized.
In other business, Assessor Mike Cook told commissioners a representative of the Justice Group told him to expect payment of $150,750 for taxes by Friday, May 17.
Additionally, Cook said, the county is still awaiting payment of back taxes from the owners of the closed Pinnacle Mine, near Pineville. Those taxes total $1.4 million.
“We’re still operating on ‘We’re going to pay you’,” Cook told commissioners.
The company has filed for bankruptcy.