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Village talks water woes

December 6, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

SMITHFIELD - A discussion on the amount owed to the Jefferson County Water and Sewer Department for village water was brought up by Pat Freeland, council member, at Tuesday's Village Council meeting.

Freeland disagrees with the amount of money the county says is owed for water purchased.

Village Solicitor Bryan Felmet said the village started falling behind when a judgment was made in 2005 for money owed to the county for water purchased.

"You were paying on the judgment but the bill for the water supplied was adding up," he said.

Felmet suggested that a committee be named to meet with the county and look at and discuss the situation together.

"This arguing is injurious to our legal status. Some communication is needed. Regarding the certified bills being sent to you that you are not receiving, you need to check into this," he said.

Nikki Pflugh, council president, suggested they check with the post office to see who was signing for the letters.

Freeland said the money owed after paying off the last $200 of the judgment was not right, but Felmet pointed out that the cost of water being supplied monthly was continuous and building interest as well.

"We have been making progress on so many fronts, but what you said about paying the last $200 off is not right. There is still the billing for water that is continuous after the judgment. It comes from the meter readings and what you use," Felmet said.

Water used by the Jefferson County Agricultural Society was discussed by Freeland, who said the amount used for the fair was far less this year than last year and was not correct.

Again, Felmet said a committee needs to meet with the board because the numbers do not match.

Pflugh said a committee needs to sit down and hash out the problem.

Pflugh was named to the committee, as well as Debbie Coconaugher, fiscal officer; and Barbara Harrah, water board member.

Ron Saxon, village water superintendent, said the discrepancy with numbers was likely at a time when the meter was not operating right. "We were told that it was our meter and we needed to fix it. Then all of a sudden it was their meter," he said.

He reported on utilities for the month, noting the department worked on water meter complaints rather than working from an assigned schedule. He reported that a break on state Route 151 was too big for the department to handle, and the county offered and was called for help. Sewage stations at the stadium received attention, and the lift station is in need of a new control board.

A letter of resignation by Geordie Lindsay, councilman for 11 months, was read by Pflugh and is to be in effect immediately. He stated there was no time to dedicate to the village and his family.

Coconaugher said resumes will be accepted for the open council seat that needs to be filled until 2015.

Resumes should be submitted to the village office by Jan. 4.

Police Chief Robert Mieczkowski asked that residents be on the lookout for people walking about the village that they do not recognize or acting suspiciously.

"This (activity) has been on the rise since it started getting darker sooner. Also, beware of how you dispose of garbage and your mail. They are looking for personal information they can use," he said.

"The UPS deliveries are another area where there has been theft. The packages are left on the porch when a resident is not home, and they are being taken," Mieczkowski said.

He cautioned those walking along the road after dark to wear something light or reflective so they can be seen.

It was noted that the fire department will conduct a fire truck Santa run on Dec. 23, starting at 5 p.m. This has been a tradition in the village for more than 50 years. The department is holding bingo parties on the third Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well. One is slated for Dec. 15.

A notice was read that the dental office of Dr. Glen Swearingen is closing on Jan. 1.

"After 30 years, I am reducing the work load by eliminating offices in Smithfield and other areas. The office in Toronto will be maintained and I will accept patients there, or they can obtain their files for a minimum fee," Swearingen stated.

(McCoy can be contacted at

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