New Haven updates on reduced fine, water system

By Mindy Kearns - Special to OVP

NEW HAVEN — It was good news for members of the New Haven Town Council at their most recent meeting, when Mayor Phil Serevicz announced a significant decrease in a fine they incurred upon taking office.

Present, in addition to the mayor, were Recorder Becky Benson, and council members Roy Dale Grimm, Steve Carpenter, Colton McKinney, and Stephen Ohlinger, Jr. Absent was council member Jessica Rickard.

Serevicz reported when the administration took office, members were made aware of a $259,000 fine, issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. He said the fine came following 117 violations against the wastewater department.

After a lot of work and effort to bring the plant and department up to code, Serevicz said the fine has been reduced to $5,000. He added it will be paid over the next 10 months.

A second fine, this one issued by the Internal Revenue Service, was earlier reported as being reduced from $35,000 to $8,910. It, too, was imposed prior to this administration for payroll Social Security payments that were not submitted. Benson said the fine will be paid in full from coal severance funds.

Also during the meeting, the council voted to raise the garbage rates for residents. The increase of $1.46 will take the monthly bill to $18.46. The mayor said the increase will generate an additional $12,000 in revenue.

Councilman Carpenter and his wife, Lesa, volunteered to take over the operations of the community center, and Jenn Russell has agreed to oversee the winter roller skating. The council agreed to both offers. Center rentals will still be completed at the town hall.

Serevicz suggested the council have two propane gas heaters installed at the community center. He said several people renting it have complained about the lack of heat. The electric heat pumps take hours to warm the facility, and the most recent electric bill was $1,200. Council members agreed to get quotes on the heater costs, as well as a key card system for the building.

It was announced the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled in favor of New Haven over the Town of Hartford in regard to the new water system. Serevicz has said Hartford refuses to begin using the new system, even though it was agreed upon.

The mayor said Hartford now has the option to appeal the decision. He said he will send the PSC a letter stating the town is in agreement with the ruling, and ask for a specific date as to when Hartford must tie into the system.

In other action, the council:

Tabled a building permit for Ted and Nora Hoffert until further inspection;

Agreed to add Office Manager Monica Mitchell to the bank accounts;

Reported those submitting claims for recent damages due to water pressure issues must have proof, showing damages;

Agreed to go by PSC rules for meter replacement, with customers having to bear the cost if the meter is tested and nothing is wrong with it;

Voted to increase the pay of temporary “as needed” employees from $9 to $10 per hour;

Heard a report from Serevicz that the town had received compliments on the snow clearing of side streets and sidewalks;

Agreed to table a decision to fix a police cruiser needing a $2,000 steering box; and,

Received a complaint letter from a resident who rented the community center.

© 2022 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Mindy Kearns

Special to OVP

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]