The Times West Virginian

Local News

November 26, 2013

Monongah leaders face debt in town’s water fund

Rate increase, cutting costs possible solutions to help alleviate issue

MONONGAH — The Town of Monongah is looking at options related to its water fund.

Following an audit, Monongah needs to show what it is going to do to alleviate the debt in this fund — whether that means a rate increase, which the town would hate to do, or cutting back costs, Mayor Greg Vandetta said during Monday night’s council meeting. Unfortunately, there is only so much that the town can cut in terms of costs.

At a meeting at the end of October, council talked about how the town is trying to collect a number of delinquent payments on water service. The next move was to start taking people to magistrate court to continue to pursue the money owed to the town. The town started by contacting a group of people with the most recent delinquent payments, totaling $2,300.43.

Council member Bill McCombs said Monday that the debt the town incurred with those unpaid water bills should have never been allowed to get that high. He pointed out that the town has done a lot in the past six or seven months to make improvements to the water service. The town has to do its part, and not just pass on the debt to the people, McCombs said.

Also during the meeting, council made a decision to move forward with installing a new furnace in one of its buildings.

The furnace in the shop, which is located on the other side of the parking lot from the town hall, is very old and is not efficient. Employees work out of the shop and equipment is also kept there. Replacing the furnace would be a way to cut down on expenses by lowering the gas bills, Vandetta said.

Monongah received a bid for $2,480 for this project. By unanimous vote, council approved putting a new furnace in the shop using money from the town’s Community Partnership Grant. Vandetta explained that Monongah has $5,000 left of this grant and needs to use the money soon because the grant time frame has already been extended several times.

In the spring, the town also plans to use the remaining funds to work on the air conditioning in the town hall and make repairs to a wall in the building, he said.

In addition, community member Chris Martin provided an update on Monongah Hometown Christmas, which will take place Dec. 14. She said the small parade will begin at 3 p.m., with units lining up at 2:30 p.m., and will feature Santa and the North Marion High School band. A variety of entertainment as well as refreshments will follow at the town hall.

Martin said the planning committee has been trying to get the word out about the event, and people have been helping out by giving donations for the cause. Monongah Middle School Y Teens, North Marion and West Virginia University students, and other volunteers met at the Monongah Fire Department on Nov. 19 to stuff stockings for the festivities.

“I think everybody’s really enthusiastic about it,” she said.

In other news:

• Council member Warren Sloan is working to submit a lengthy application for the National Guard to use the town’s proposed skateboard park and playground project as a training program. He said Monongah feels very fortunate that this project is on the list of the National Guard, who would get the property ready and move the dirt at no cost to the town.

Sloan has run into some complications regarding the ownership of the property, which the National Guard needs to know, and is trying to get answers. He said if this project comes together and works, it would provide a play area for the youth and the whole community and would better the town.

• Monongah resident Barbara Carpenter expressed her frustrations about her yard and basement being flooded because of rainwater coming from a drain on property that slopes toward her home. After a discussion of the problem, Vandetta suggested that a curb be placed on the side of the road to divert the waters, and council will look into this option.

• Council members unanimously passed the second reading of an ordinance to increase the pay of the town fire chief.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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