Save the Sharp Farm of Pocahontas County
History and heritage in Slatyfork, West Virginia.

WVMR Report on February 27 Public Service District Meeting

Wednesday March 7, 2007
WVMR 1370 AM, Allegheny Mountain Radio

By Heather Dooley

Hear Heather's Broadcast from WVMR 1370 AM

Listen to Heather's complete broadcast using the audio panel at left. Excerpts from the broadcast are reproduced below.

The Public Service District in Pocahontas County is taking another look at a piece of ground they're considering as a site for the Slatyfork regional sewer plant. The site is owned by the state rail authority and is located at the confluence of Big Spring Fork and Old Field Fork of the Elk River.

Another possible alternate site for the treatment plant also was discussed Tuesday night [February 27]—a piece of ground near the rail authority site, this one owned by Beckwith Lumber Company. But board member Scott Millican seemed to rule that site out. "There's no rapport with the land owner so as far as I'm concerned that site is not an option," Millican stated.

Millican said project engineer Ken Moran with Thrasher Engineering had offered that site on a short list of possible sites, but since then Millican has talked with the land owner Ralph Beckwith, and after that conversation he feels the property should be ruled out because the land owner is not willing for that site to be used.

A question from the audience came at that point. David Fleming, a computer programmer who lives at Cass, started following this story early last year. Since then he has established the website SaveTheSharpFarm.[com], which advocates abandoning the Sharp Farm site, the site currently slated to be the future home of the treatment plant.

Fleming reacted to Millican's statement that the Beckwith site is off the table because of lack of rapport with the land owner. Fleming asked, "How is that any different from the Sharp Farm site?"

Millican explained the history of the short list of possible sites and how the Beckwith site was considered before he had talked with Ralph Beckwith about the land. That didn't satisfy Fleming's question, but after a follow-up PSD attorney Tom Michael recommended that the board not discuss land acquisition options in public session.

Fleming noted, "I'm not trying to advocate going after somebody else's land, but just curious your rationale for why you wouldn't consider that because it was another land owner." Michael responded, "I would recommend to the board that we don't discuss the content of negotiations regarding property acquisition with the land owner in a public session."

From David Fleming: This is not part of Heather's report. In that same meeting, Tom Michael presented Bill Rexrode with a document to sign to transfer the loan from Pendleton Bank to Davis Trust. I watched Mr. Rexrode sign readily as Mr. Michael stood over him in commanding fashion. This is more than a transfer, this would up the amount from $300K to $400K. Regretfully, I neglected to ask who would secure the loan. But I did ask what would happen if the bond for the project were denied. More on that.