In the face of the water contamination issues in the Kanawha Valley, questions of contamination on Middle Island Creek, and recent legislation, Middlebourne will explore getting their water from well.
Mayor Charles Delauder said at Monday's council meeting that the town is looking at drilling water wells instead of drawing from Middle Island Creek.
"The next step we take will be to drill test wells to see if we can get the volume of water and quality of water we need," said Delauder. "We can't go below 100 feet and we have to get at least 72 gallons per minute of water produced. If we meet those requirements, we can go ahead and develop the wells and put them into service."
This means the town would not have to do as much work to the water treatment plant, noted the mayor. "Because with well water about the only thing you have to do is put chlorine in it, unless we get bad well water," said Delauder.
He said legislation has just passed on a water bill which requires water utilities to have a secondary water plan in case of an emergency. "If there would be an emergency we would go back and draw from the creek or hook into the Friendly Public Service District," noted Delauder.
Middlebourne is looking to take on a water project that a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture estimates would cost about $2.1 million. In addition to the water well drilling, the project would replace about 1,000 feet of two-inch water line which serves several areas of town and would also give them better service to the fire hydrants. It would also allow them to build another 500,000 gallon tank. That would enable the town to clean and service the other tanks without shutting down.
"If this water project goes through we will be building a new water and sewer building that will also house the town hall," continued Delauder.
A USDA representative who met with Delauder said their loan rates are 2.75 percent if the town's residents meets income guidelines and 3.5 percent if they do not fall within the reduced rate loan parameters. The mayor told council the town could roll the $130,000 still owed on the water plant into the new loan. "It would save us about two percent on the old loan plus it would be paid off," he noted.
Middlebourne was told at Monday's water board meeting that they had to have their Certified Public Accountant take care of the funding for the project. "So we did a letter of engagement with the CPA firm," said Delauder. "Our next step to drill the test wells will take place and we have about three different places we could hit water. Two of them are real close to where we are right now, and another is up on the hill."
The mayor said he was in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 26 to meet with Senator Joe Maintain regarding some help with the new water and sewer project. He related that Manic told him he could almost guarantee the town $500,000.
"It would take a whole lot more than that," said Delauder, "But we will take all the help we can get."
He said he also asked Manchin for an additional $20,000 to be used for the community center roof, which has missing shingles, underlayment, and several leaks; it needs to be replaced. He estimated the cost to be over $40,000.
In other matters, Delauder said he attended the State Capitol Legislative meeting and talked to Senators Jeff Kessler and Larry Edgell regarding the community center roof and they said they would try and secure $20,000 toward the repairs.
Edgell also said he would get the money for the police car radar. Office of Emergency Management has provided the funds for the police car radio and also for a handheld model to use while the officer is away from the vehicle. He said once all this happens the town will go ahead and hire the policeman.
Delauder attended the Municipal League meetings in Charleston on Feb. 16, 17, and 18. One of the big items of discussion was abandoned and dilapidated properties and what to do about them and how to get rid of them. He said there is legislation which deals with the problem but there is no money attached to it, so there isn't really anything that can be done.
The mayor said he met Monday afternoon with a man from Mon Power concerning street lighting in town. The representative had a list of all the street lights and where they are supposed to be. "And so now I will go around and count to make sure be are being charged for only the lights we are using."
He said he was at the Library Board meeting on Feb. 20 and the contractor was wanting the final payment on the repairs. He said they refused the payment because nails were popping through the drywall and other work was shabby. He said the contractor, Morton Buildings out of Ohio, would have to come back and fix the problems before he would allow payment.
The proposed budget for 2014- 2015 was read and, with no requests and no citizens in attendance, it was moved to hold a budget approval meeting on April 15 at 7 p.m., which will also serve as the next regular meeting.
The council approved a request from the mayor to purchase banners for the Main Street light poles at a cost of $3,500 with money from the Stealey Green fund.
It was noted that Armstrong Telecommunications was moving forward with cable service to Middlebourne, which can be packaged together with telephone and internet.
Council approved the minutes of the February meeting and the treasurer's report.
The next scheduled meeting of council will be April 15, at 7 p.m. at town hall.