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Official says Jefferson County sewer plant plan flawed

January 30, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A proposed $25 million sewer plant drew the attention of the Jefferson County Commission again Thursday after a county official said he believes there is no money for the project.

An interest-free state loan has been considered as a funding source for the plant, but County Commission President Al Hooper said he believes no such funding is available.

Loan money with a 3 percent interest rate could be used to pay for the plant, but that could result in sharply increased sewer rates for county residents to help pay for the plant, Hooper said.

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"It's a flawed plan," Hooper said during the commissioners meeting Thursday morning.

The Jefferson County Public Service District is proposing to build the plant along Cattail Run near where the stream empties into the Shenandoah River.

Public service district officials say the treatment plant is needed to serve new housing developments in the area north of U.S. 340 between Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Charles Town.

Some county residents and officials have expressed concerns about the project. One concern is that it would open areas for possible development that are not planned or zoned for high-density residential growth.

Officials also are concerned that sewer bills for county residents could rise sharply if the plant is built.

Last week, the chairman of the public service district, Marty Kable, told the commissioners there could be a "change of direction" for the sewer plant. Kable declined to elaborate on his comments.

The proposal has not been withdrawn from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, a state agency that is reviewing the proposal, Commissioner Greg Corliss said Thursday.

Corliss proposed that the commissioners send a letter to the council outlining their concerns about the plant.

The commissioners voted against sending the letter.

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