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Junior Town Council approves sewer upgrade

June 18, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Junior Town Council last Monday approved a $220,000 bond ordinance for sewer system upgrades.

The funds will pay a portion of the costs of the acquisition and construction of certain extensions, additions and improvements to the public sewerage system, and other related costs, according to the Sewer Revenue Bond memo distributed by the attorney Tom Aman of Steptoe and Johnson lawfirm at the council meeting.

The bond ordinance approved by the town council will fund replacements and installations for the lift station.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Junior Town Council members Barbara Lyle, Steven Rhodes, Jack Skidmore, Jerry Wilson and Bob Skidmore review and sign documents provided by Attorney Tom Aman of Steptoe and Johnson lawfirm regarding the Sewer Revenue Bond terms and conditions.

The motion to approve the bond ordinance was made by Councilman Jerry Wilson and seconded by Councilman Jack Skidmore. It passed unopposed.

"It authorizes the issuance of the bonds to finance the sewer project in the amount up to $320,000, of course you're not actually borrowing that much," Aman said.

Other council members in attendance include Steven Rhodes, Bob Skidmore and Barbara Lyle.

Junior Mayor Gary Miller also was in attendance, along with Chief of Police Carlton "Jody" Haller, Sewer Operator Lee Moore, and Luann Shomo reporting on the meeting.

Aman presented and explained the bond ordinance before obtaining signatures from all parties involved on the ordinance.

The money for the project will be borrowed from the United States Department of Agriculture with a 2 percent interest rate over a period of 40 years.

"You can prepay these bonds at anytime without penalty," Aman told the council.

The bond involves 24 months of interest-only payments, and afterward a regular monthly payment will begin for the remaining 38 years.

A motion was made by Bob Skidmore and seconded by Lyle to pass the supplemental resolution. The motion passed unopposed.

According to Aman, the supplemental resolution involves provisions as to the principal amount, date, maturity date, the redemption provision interest rate, and the interest and principal payment dates.

Another motion was made to approve the first requisition of the bond proceeds to pay the closing costs of $97,465, including payments to Thrasher Engineering, Upshur Agency, attorneys involved and the regional council.

The motion was made by Jack Skidmore, seconded by Bob Skidmore and passed unopposed.

Official documents were signed by the Council for the approval of the Sewer Revenue Bond agreement.

A new ruling by the state Legislature that affects licensed operators also was discussed at the meeting.

"As far as licensed operators, they're just not out there," Moore said.

The new measure changes the rules that deal with the chief operator at the sewer plant.

"You've got to have continuing education to keep your license. They're going to start charging me. I think the first time I have to renew it would be $250," Moore said.

He explained that the license renewal will occur every two years and the fee would apply each time. Moore said his schooling could be obtained from the city of Elkins and he hopes that the classes won't cost him anything.

In addition, he said he'll have to pay initially for each license he earns and the price should reduce after the first payment.

"The fact that you have to pay for your license in order to maintain it is going to be a deterrent," Moore said.

He added that operators would have to go to many classes to maintain their license, which he estimates will cover two or three years.

An operator-in-training has to attend a class at least once in Ripley just to be able to take the test to get certified. The classes lasts four days and requires a fifth day to take the test.

Moore will be required to take a chief operator's class once it becomes available.

"There's just not that many operators out there. In fact, we're needing somebody right now at the plant and there's just nobody out there to get ... as far as licensed operators, they're just not out there," Moore said.

A Class I license takes about a year of work on site to obtain. It requires another two years as a Class I to move up to Class II. The operator-in-training does not yet have the license and it would take time to obtain it, but Moore said he has enough time in that he could probably get his Class I.

"I'd recommend he try and get his Class I and go ahead and work on his Class II," Moore said.

The Junior sewer plant is classified as a Class II size plant based on community size and the character of the plant.

"Several things factor in," said Moore, adding that the plant was just barely a Class II.

The upgrade to the sewer system will raise the bar on the classification, but it should still remain at Class II, according to Moore.

The plant is supposed to have at least one Class II worker and one Class I worker 40 hours a week, according to the new regulations.

Moore said there was no way he could be in two places at one time. The required classes would keep him away part of the time.

"But you can write a letter to them and request a pass on that and we can probably continue doing what we're doing now," Moore said.

Moore proposed that a letter be written, signed and sent in this month requesting a pass.

"They know we're short on operators," Moore said.

Miller asked Moore if the Council could reimburse the licensing fee.

"There's nothing in this new law that says you have to do that. I just wanted to make everyone aware of it. I just want you to know what situation we're up against in case they don't approve," Moore said.



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