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Public hearing on sewer extension plan today

November 9, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Cabell County commissioners will hold a public hearing Thursday, Nov. 8, on a plan to add more than 714 homes and 45 businesses to the Pea Ridge Service District, a sewer utility.

Commissioners also are expected to discuss a request from Prosecuting Attorney Sean “Corky” Hammers to hire two new assistant prosecuting attorneys. Commissioners previously tabled Hammers’ request to learn more about how he intends to pay for the new employees’ salaries and benefits.

Thursday’s public hearing will happen during the commission’s regular meeting at 10 a.m. People are invited to speak for or against the proposal, which will expand the utility’s coverage area by more than 3,131 acres. This would add homes and businesses along W.Va. 2 and the Ben Bowen Highway, also known as W.Va. 193.

The project would create a new wastewater treatment plant on land owned by the utility, according to the project’s proposal.

The project would also remove 13 “package plants” along W.Va. 2 and the Merritts Creek connector and add them to the newly proposed wastewater treatment plant. Package plants are self-contained and privately owned wastewater treatment plants.

Ron Flora, an attorney representing the Pea Ridge Public Service District, said he’s seen little pushback from people living in the area regarding the proposal. People will be required to connect to the utility if their wastewater flows down to the utility’s lines, according to state law. The move is largely supported by businesses no longer wanting to operate package plants, which are expensive and labor intensive, Flora said.

Following the public hearing, the matter would go before the West Virginia Public Service Commission for final approval and establishment of sewer rates.

Regarding the hiring of two assistant prosecuting attorneys, commissioners previously said the prosecutor might have money to cover both salaries, but is most likely lacking $60,000 necessary to cover health insurance, retirement and other benefits.

In the past, commissioners approved a request to hire an additional office support staff member, who was hired and later departed. Hammers expressed a need to hire new assistant prosecuting attorneys more than hiring support staff members at this time.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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