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Sewer service board member reappointed

December 26, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Because sewer service in Jefferson County plays a big part in how residential development will proceed in coming years, an appointment to a board that controls sewer service drew attention last week.

On Thursday, the Jefferson County Commission had to decide whether to reappoint Joe Hankins to the Jefferson County Public Service District or appoint Jim Cummins to the board.

Hankins works at the local Freshwater Institute, which focuses on environmental issues. Hankins is considered to be an expert on the area's groundwater supplies, County Commission President Rusty Morgan said.

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Cummins has a biology background and is active in the study of local water issues, Morgan said.

Hankins was reappointed to a six-year term on the public service district Morgan and commissioners Dale Manuel and Jane Tabb voted for him.

Commissioners Greg Corliss and Jim Surkamp voted for Cummins.

Surkamp said he believes the public service district has assembled a developer-driven land policy, and Corliss said he has had major concerns about how the public service district has been operated.

Among the controversial issues that have surrounded the public service district is a $25 million sewer plant the agency was proposing last year along Cattail Run, which empties into the Shenandoah River.

There was concern that sewer rates could sharply increase to help pay for the first plant, among other concerns.

A scaled-back version of the plant later was proposed.

Corliss said after Thursday's commission meeting that there has been a "disconnect" between the public service district and county government and that the reappointment of Hankins is "just an endorsement of business as usual."

Tabb said last Thursday that Cummins has been labeled as a person that would stop growth and she was concerned about that.

Although Morgan said he has had concerns about how the public service district has operated, Morgan said he supported Hankins because Hankins reflects his views on protection of water resources and because Hankins supports so-called "smart growth" policies.

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