Members sought for Hammond board

WELLSBURG – Following the resignation of the three members of the Hammond Public Service District board, the Brooke County Commission is seeking individuals to fill their seats.

Commission President Tim Ennis said, “I’ve asked the three to reconsider but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

With that in mind, Ennis said the commission must be prepared to move forward and accept letters of interest in the three seats. He encouraged those interested to contact the Brooke County Clerk’s Office at (304) 737-3661 or any of the three commissioners.

Ennis can be reached at (304) 737-0131, County Commissioner Jim Andreozzi can be reached at (304) 527-0455 and County Commissioner Norma Tarr can be reached at (304) 723-3661.

Ennis said in light of the situation, officials with the West Virginia Public Service Commission have advised the commission may waive its usual two-week period to appoint new board members.

The state PSC also has advised that until the seats are filled, the Brooke County Commission will serve as the board. The commission is slated to preside over the board’s next meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the board’s office at 736 Charles St.

The board normally meets at 4 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Its three members serve six-year staggered terms. Kenneth Lowmiller was appointed earlier this year to the board, so much of his term still remains.

It wasn’t clear how much of the terms remained of Duane Griffith and Janet Klein, who also resigned.

All of the board members cited personal reasons for their resignations. When called for comment, Lowmiller said he left because of health reasons and had nothing more to say.

Griffith and Klein couldn’t be reached for comment.

Ennis said the commissioners met with the board members and staff members separately to determine issues faced by the district. He said in response, the state Public Service Commission has recommended that a study be done to determine various options, including remaining independent or merging with another district.

Commissioner Jim Andreozzi said financial issues, including debt owed by the board and funds needed to repair or replace equipment in the future, will be a major focus. He said the district is not at risk of being taken over by the state.

Andreozzi said the commission is trying to help the district secure a grant to replace an electrical panel that is key to the water plant’s operations. Its cost is estimated at between $50,000 and $70,000.

The Hammond Public Service District provides water to areas of southern Brooke County.

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