County commissioners, including Tammy Tincher, Lowell Rose, and Blaine Phillips, recently convened at a public meeting to discuss the ongoing water expansion project in Greenbrier County. Led by project manager Ryan Boustany of The Thrasher Group, the meeting aimed to update the public on plans for the proposed water line expansion, expected to have a significant impact on several communities.
The ambitious Greenbrier County #2 Public Service District Phase 2 Sam Black Church water line expansion project carries a substantial price tag of $20,230,000.00. Funding sources include the County Commission, Congressional Directed Earmarked funds, IJDC, DWTRF Principal Forgiveness, and DWTRF Loan.
Anticipated to benefit communities such as Sam Black Church, Clintonville, Alta, and Asbury, the project also includes connecting Charmco to Rainelle. Notably, the water system will operate independently from Rainelle's existing city water, although provisions are in place for emergency water purchases if necessary.
Despite the project's potential to impact around 400 homes, only 150 individuals have signed up so far. Attendees at the November 13th meeting, held at James Chapel United Methodist, raised questions and concerns about the proposed water line expansion. To encourage participation, individuals are required to sign a five-year agreement, committing to a minimum monthly bill of $60.39 for 3000 gallons. Project manager Ryan Boustany emphasized the potential for lower rates if more residents sign up, urging early participation to avoid a $300 tap fee.
Discussions during the meeting highlighted the various benefits of city water access, particularly during power outages and for enhanced fire protection. Local first responders and fire department members present at the meeting assured collaboration with The Thrasher Group on fire hydrant placements, emphasizing the potential for reduced homeowners' insurance premiums with nearby hydrants.
However, the project faces challenges, notably the hesitancy of potential participants. Some residents highlighted the pressing need for city water, describing the difficulties faced by those with non-functioning wells or water quality issues. Concerns were raised about the project's viability with only 150 sign-ups and a high estimated cost of $133,000 per connection.
Comparisons with neighboring water systems revealed a range of rates, with Ronceverte paying $77.52, WVAW ranging from $60.00 to $77.09, and others varying between $33.08 and $77.52.
The fate of the Greenbrier County waterline expansion project remains uncertain, with community support and participation crucial for its success. Interested individuals can watch the full meeting on YouTube at https://youtu.be/OSpJvuJoZng, and for inquiries about the project, contact Ryan Boustany via email at [email protected] or by phone at 304-343-7601. The community's decision to sign up will determine whether this essential infrastructure project thrives or falters.