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Jefferson Co. Public Service District gets new board member

December 11, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Jefferson County's Public Service District, facing multimillion-dollar water and sewer projects, ended up with a new board member Thursday following a 3-2 vote by the Jefferson County Commissioners.

The commissioners split when Jim Surkamp, Frances Morgan and Lyn Widmyer chose Peter Appignani of Gap View Village over P. Michael Chapman of Rippon to serve the six-year term.  

Commissioners Dale Manuel and Patsy Noland voted for Chapman.

Appignani will replace Kack Lantzy, a certified public accountant and treasurer of the PSD who chose not to seek another term.

Joseph Hankins and James Cummins, both scientists, serve as president and secretary of the three-member board.

Appignani moved to the county in 2005. He listed among his qualifications that he is president of the Gap View Village Homeowners Association, president of the nonprofit Jefferson County Organization of Homeowners Associations and organized a gala for the preservation of Happy Retreat, home of George Washington's brother, Charles. He noted his "extensive engineering and program/project management background" and his coalition-building skills.

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Chapman, a lifelong county resident, is the fifth-generation owner of a 350-acre family farm.

He earned a business administration degree from Shepherd University in 1992. He told the commissioners he has a thorough understanding of budgets, financial statements and audits. He works in information technology at Royal Vendors.

The PSD has two major projects on tap.

The first is bringing public water to the Blue Ridge Mountain communities of Keyes Ferry Acres, Westridge Hills and Harpers Ferry Campsite.

The second is building a proposed $26 million sewage treatment plant in the Halltown area to serve the Flowing Springs watershed basin.

Susanne Gray Lawton, PSD general manager, estimated the cost of bringing water to the Blue Ridge to serve the estimated 350 to 400 residents in the three subdivisions at $13 million to $16 million.

Water is now supplied by local mountain systems. The quality of the water has been very poor for decades. Most of the homes were built in the 1960s for recreational use. Over the years, many were turned into permanent residences, officials said.

The project will be completed through a private/public partnership worked out between the PSD and Jefferson Utilities, a private water company that will supply the water to the mountain communities.

Jefferson Utilities has 2,200 customers.

A public meeting on the Blue Ridge water project is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Chestnut Hill Church at the intersection of Chestnut Hill and Hostler roads.

The Flowing Springs watershed basin sewer project would cover territory north and east of Charles Town and Ranson up to Job Corps Road and take in the existing and new Breckenridge subdivisions plus the new K-5 elementary school being built on Job Corps Road.

In addition, developers have secured preliminary plat approval for subdivisions involving several hundred new homes that they can't build without public sewer service.

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