WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Public Service District Board will consider whether to proceed with the extension of sewer lines to three areas in the second phase of the Eldersville Road sewer project or to attempt to parlay funds received for it into a larger project.
Randy Watson of Thrasher Engineering, the engineering firm for the project, told the board Wednesday he's estimated a $1.3 million Small Cities Block Grant awarded to the district may be used to extend sewer lines to 50 homes in the community of Louise and several others on Latimer Lane and at the end of Grimms Lane.
Watson said the Grimms Lane extension should be advertised for contractors as an alternate bid in case there aren't enough funds to do it.
He added the project area also depends on whether the West Virginia Development Office wants the district to use the grant as leverage for a state loan that would enable it to serve a larger area.
Watson said that area could include about 40 homes on St. John's Road from Black's Hollow north where the first phase of the sewer project left off.
Barb Zimnox, a community development specialist with the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Planning Commission, said she will consult the state development office about the matter.
The board used a $9.8 million federal grant awarded to the district in 2001 for the extension of sewer lines to Mahan Lane, Eldersville Road and Bruin Drive to secure a $2.5 million loan and $775,000 grant for additional homes in that area.
But the move, as well as negotiations with three potential wastewater treatment providers, resulted in the project being delayed for several years.
Watson noted 80 percent of easements for the project area must be obtained before the project may be advertised.
The task of acquiring easements normally falls to the board's attorney, Wayne Mielke.
This summer Mielke said the board indicated it planned to hire a new attorney after the first phase was completed. He said his contract with the board calls for him to serve as legal counsel for the entire project.
Board member Archie Doll said the dispute hasn't resulted in litigation at this point but the second phase of the sewer project will be delayed until the legal issue is resolved.
"We're just investigating our options at this point. But we're going to move forward (with the project). We're not going to lose the money the Governor (Earl Ray Tomblin) gave us," he said.
In other business, the board discussed with Follansbee City Attorney Michael Gaudio and City Manager John DeStefano a proposed intergovernmental agreement through which the city's crews would read meters for the new sewer customers who receive water from the city, and to terminate service to those customers for non-payment, if needed.
The board and city officials agreed to meet to work out the details.
The board also approved year-end bonuses to its four full-time and two part-time employees of $100 each and an additional $20 for each year of their employment, with the longest-serving employee there for 14 years.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)