By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
Following a meeting with engineers, Fairview mayor Arley Simmons said the town’s water extension project completion date has been pushed back.
Following a closed-door meeting with engineers from Woolpert Engineering based out of Dayton, Ohio, council members decided to not worry about picking a completion date but instead work as quickly as possible.
“It’s going to get done way after the first of the year,” Simmons said.
A meeting of the Fairview Water Extension committee was advertised by the town for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the town hall, but when the Times West Virginian arrived at the meeting, a Woolpert employee said the meeting was not open to the public and asked the reporter to leave.
The state’s open meetings act, originally adopted in 1974 and amended several times since, requires that all state, county and municipal meetings be open to the public. Interpretations of the law have included meetings of the boards, committees and commissions of government agencies be open to the public as well.
Following the extension committee meeting, Simmons said the meeting should have been open to the public and the news media and that he did not know why the Woolpert engineer insisted it was closed.
When contacted by the Times West Virginian, Jocelyn Hodson of Woolpert said there was a misunderstanding and said representatives thought Tuesday’s meeting was a one-on-one meeting with clients as opposed to an open government meeting.
Simmons said one issue with the project is getting electric to the boost station.
“We’re working with the power company to get the power drops put in,” he said.
Simmons said the town signed up to get the electric for the project a while ago.
“It’s been about six months since we signed up for it,” he said. “That’s just one of the things we’re waiting on.”
Ken Smittle, inspector of the project, said recently that all the lines are laid and wells to serve additional customers still need to be placed. He said once those wells are in place and running, the completion of the project will be closer.
“I would say we’re within a month, month and a half of having the wells online,” Smittle said.
Before the town’s council meeting Tuesday, council members and residents met with engineers from Woolpert Engineering about the project to discuss the progress that has been made.
Simmons said engineers told him the completion date would be Feb. 12, 2014, but he added that they have about a month of leeway to have it completed. The project has been in the works since May 2012.
“They have a 30-day period after (Feb. 12) for leeway,” he said. “I’m looking at March.”
For now, there are still residents in Fairview who are receiving their water by trucks bringing it in. The water extension project will provide water to an additional 140 or so residents in Fairview.
During the council meeting, members discussed buying new computers for the town. Simmons said when the water extension project is finally complete, the town needs to be ready technology-wise.
Recorder Heather Tuttle told council the computers must have a certain program to work with the new water meters.
“We have to get ready in here,” she said.
The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at the Fairview Town Hall.
Managing Editor Misty Poe contributed to this report.
Email Emily Gallagher at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.