Water and sewer rate increase in Alderson

By Brenda Boykin
Mayor Travis Copenhaver has been warning citizens for some time now that the town was going to have to increase the water and sewer rates. Michael Griffith, accountant for the town of Alderson, explained the cash flow analysis for rate determination and the rate increase. He stated this is a must for the town in continuing to operate productively and providing quality functional utilities for its citizens.
The proposed ordinance includes a 16 percent rate increase for sewer, and a 10 percent rate increase for water to go into effect this November. Then, there will be a 10 percent water rate increase in 2016, followed by a 5 percent water rate increase in 2017. As currently determined, there will only be the one sewer rate increase. These rates increase still keep the town of Alderson in the lower 25 percent of the bills in the state. The first reading was passed by council.
Other business:
Sonya Buckner from the West Virginia State Retirement Program was present and introduced Barbara Hannon as the designated speaker. Barbara Harmon spoke on the benefits and guidelines of having a retirement program for the town of Alderson employees. The adoption of the program was tabled until the next meeting for further evaluation.
• The motion to accept the third and final reading of the Business and Occupation Tax Ordinance was passed by vote of council.
• Council accepted the invoices that were presented for the Senate Bill 245 Waste Water Treatment project.
• A motion was made to approve the request of The Alderson Ministerial Association for a boundary adjustment, so their new location of Route 12 will be annexed into the town limits. The request was approved by council.
• The proposed development of a FEMA lot in Monroe County for a recreational campground was passed by council. The lot is on the left at the bottom of the hill before True Value and across the creek behind it.
• Copenhaver explained there would be no game check-in stations in Alderson this Urban Hunt season. DNR states this is a special archery/crossbow season to reduce deer populations in WV towns. There will be a 10 deer limit. Season would be Sept. 9 to Dec. 31, dusk till noon, in the Alderson Municipal Park. No hunting will be allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thanksgiving break. Motion passed by vote of council.
Public Comment:
• Bob Rhodes, sewer plant operator for the Town of Alderson, relayed to everyone the great progress made regarding water run-off containment.
• Stella Elzy wanted to express her thanks and gratitude to Chief Jeremy Bennett and the Town of Alderson for the Animal Control Program and the progress it has made.
Mayor’s Report:
• The mayor announced that everyone in the Glen Ray area would receive a letter explaining annexation intent. Property owners or registered voters would have say at the upcoming meeting.
• The State Auditor’s office is putting the Town of Alderson audit out for bids. The County Commission took $11,000 from the Alderson Library Fund because of improper funding allocation. The money was designated for arts programs. Copenhaver has issued a request to Senator Manchin’s office for $8,000 to offset the loss of funding.
• There were 12 responses to the published police officer application. All but 2 have been eliminated and the remaining two will be interviewed Aug. 27. The police department new hire contract was edited and parts were re-written by Attorney Joseph Aucremanne stating all officers would be bound by a one-year contract.
• After testing, it was determined The Big Wheel Restaurant would have to install grease traps to be in compliance with town ordinances.
• There has been a settlement deal relating to the Muddy Creek Mountain Water tank from Pittsburg Tank Company, and all costs would be assumed by Pittsburg Tank Company. He said hopefully work will begin by September 2015.
• Copenhaver said Zach Burns had applied for the position at the water plant and wanted input by the council on their feelings regarding employment because of his dad, Rick Burns, already being a town employee. Everyone agreed it would be a good choice to hire Zach.

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