Public hearing on Tennerton PSD boundary expansion set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9

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BUCKHANNON – Tennerton Public Service District customers, mark your calendars.

Members of the public are invited to attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in the Circuit Courtroom of the Upshur County Courthouse.

Hosted by the Upshur County Commission, the hearing will be an opportunity for customers, commercial property developers and anyone else to comment on the possible expansion of Tennerton PSD’s sanitary sewer service area along Route 33 West toward the Lewis County line.

If approved, the expansion could potentially come with a 25 percent rate increase for Tennerton PSD customers.

According to previous stories, on Oct. 31, 2019, commissioners approved an order that would enable the Tennerton PSD to expand its sanitary sewer service area along the north and south sides of Route 33 West. However, the order is subject to West Virginia Public Service Commission approval and the boundary extension can’t take place without the blessing of the PSC.

Buckhannon city officials say the service area lies within the city’s utility territory and mayor David McCauley has said the City of Buckhannon plans to challenge any entity that attempts to claim the area.

During an Oct. 31, 2019 Upshur County Commission meeting involving city officials and Tennerton PSD manager Terry Gould, an engineer with the Thrasher Group said a project to expand service in the area along Route 33 West would cost about $4.8 million and involve a rate increase of approximately 25 percent for current Tennerton PSD customers.

However, since that time, the city has engaged in talks with J.F. Allen Company about collaborating to construct south-side sanitary sewer and water lines.

City attorney Tom O’Neill, a Tennerton PSD customer himself, is encouraging other customers to show up to the hearing.

“I doubt there are many families able to easily absorb a 25 percent increase to their sewer bill,” O’Neill said Tuesday. “These companies are more than capable of investing in their own properties.”

Most recently, on Dec. 19, 2019, the PSC issued an informal opinion on the matter, saying the city was “in a better position” to extend sanitary sewer service along the north and south sides of Route 33 West.