City obtains funding for sewer project

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon City Council has learned that the city will receive the state funds necessary to fix a major failure in the municipal sewer system.

City Administrator Michael Doss said the city has successfully obtained a $100,000 matching grant through the state’s Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council, which will assist with 50 percent of the cost of the sewer repair and upgrade project.

That project consists of installing a new pump station at the intersection of Wood and Brooke streets, which would pump sewage past the West Virginia Wesleyan College football field and tennis courts, where a force main would discharge.

“This would include about 2,200 feet of force main and the pump station and a very short section of gravity sewer,” city engineer Sam Ludlow told council at an emergency meeting called in November to address the issue.

At the emergency meeting, council voted to loan the city’s Sanitary Board $100,000 out of its general fund to provide evidence to the IJDC that the board had secured 50 percent of the total funds necessary to complete the project, which is expected to cost approximately $200,000.

According to previous reports, Ludlow told council that a “pretty major element” of the city’s collection system – a gravity sewer interceptor known as the West Side interceptor that originates in the Tennerton area – had collapsed and was no longer operational.

Ludlow said the sewer department first learned of the problem when West Virginia Wesleyan College advised a city employee of a sinkhole, located near the college’s tennis courts at the beginning of October.

In other business, City Attorney Dave McCauley reported that the city has not heard back from U.S. Attorney William J. Ihenfeld II in response to a letter council authorized McCauley to send to Ihenfeld requesting that a portion of the money realized from the seizure of assets during a sting conducted at Hot Stuff, Cool Things stores in Buckhannon and Clarksburg be allocated to the Buckhannon Police Department.

The letter was prompted by Councilman Tom O’Neill’s observation at council’s Nov. 7 meeting that the federal government had distributed $706,472.13 to the Harrison County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force.

“We have not received any response either in writing or telephonically from him (Ihenfeld) yet,” McCauley told council at Thursday’s meeting. “They’ve received and are aware of our request but have not made any comment yet, so it’s probably just a matter of things going a little more slowly at the federal level than they do at the municipal level.”

In other business, council:

  • Passed resolution 2013-11, a resolution that authorizes Davidson to submit an application to the state requesting money to purchase ADA-compliant playground equipment and safety surfacing to be installed in the North Buckhannon Park. Council has agreed that it wants to purchase playground equipment that could be utilized by all children, including children with special needs.
  • Approved Resolution 2013-12, urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and the state Department of Transportation to finance the completion of sections of Corridor H between Kerens and Davis via public-private partnerships and modern engineering and construction practices.