Councilman voices concerns with Bath water department

September 20, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Bath Town Council member Tom Hall, a member of the water works committee, raised some issues at Monday's Town Council meeting about the Berkeley Springs Water Works, the town-owned water department.

Hall, who used to run the Berkeley Springs Water Works before resigning in June 2002, was elected to a two-year term on the town council in July.

Hall asked why the water pipe leak on Washington and Depot streets had not been repaired. Hall said the pipe has been leaking since Friday, Sept. 16. He said he also noticed a leaking pipe on Fairview Drive last Friday.


Kevin Hancock, the water department superintendent, said the water department does not have enough "personnel" to fix the leaks. Hancock said "the Fairview Drive leak was repaired today."

Hall said "we have people" and the leaks should have been fixed.

"We are denying water to people and yet we have leaking water since last Friday," he said.

Mayor Susan Webster said she will look into the matter.

Hall said he sent Webster an e-mail that asked for the financial audits for the water department.

Webster replied that the auditor has been working on them. The auditor responsible for 2001 was working on it and became ill and the audits have been delayed, she said. The 2002, 2003 and 2004 audits have not been completed, Webster said.

Margie McCumbee, town clerk, said the audits "are being worked on."

"They are due each year," Hall responded.

McCumbee said that Tom Close, the town's accountant, does an audit each year.

Hall said the council has "a fiduciary responsibility to the town of Bath."

Webster said when Hall resigned, it put a strain on the water department's operation.

Hall said, "You asked me to leave."

Webster denied it, and McCumbee said she saw Hall's resignation letter.

Hall asked for an executive session to discuss "personnel issues."

Hall accused Webster of having the Berkeley Springs Water Department repair 1,500 feet of private line on a piece of property she owns. Hall said the line is about 50 years old and has been leaking for years.

He said the Berkeley Springs Water Works should never have assumed responsibility for the line. He wants to know "if the water committee recommended to council to assume responsibility of the line.

"If the committee did not make the recommendation to take the line over, who authorized the repair work?" he asked.

Hall said he called the local office of the West Virginia Public Service Commission and was told there was "no recollection of the Berkeley Springs Water Works requesting permission to update the long service line."

Hall said Webster should have paid for fixing the line from the meter to the houses before the water department took it over.

Webster declined to address Hall's remarks during the meeting.

"You left three years ago, you tried to dissolve the town. We will move on," she said.

The executive session to discuss the Berkeley Springs Water Works will be at 5 p.m. Thursday, Webster said.

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