New Haven at odds over water project

By Mindy Kearns - Special to OVP

NEW HAVEN — A proposed water upgrade project in the Town of New Haven continues to be a source of contention, as evidenced at the latest council meeting.

Resident Ron Zerkle threatened council that he would seek an injunction to stop the project, should the council proceed with it.

Zerkle said he felt the people voted new officials into office in June, thinking the water project would be stopped. He added he felt the officials should hold a special election to let residents vote on the project, which has an estimated cost of more than $5 million.

Mayor Jerry Spradling told Zerkle there have been misconceptions regarding the project. He stated the council has questioned the lawyers, accountants and engineers.

“We can’t keep putting ‘Band-Aids’ on 65-year-old pipes,” the mayor said. “Something has to be done.”

Councilman Matt Shell said the project is currently in limbo and stated he is not willing to go forward until all questions are answered. He told those attending, however, that the town has already spent $380,000 to date on the project.

“I want to know how it’s going to get paid for,” council member Matt Gregg said. “I don’t think we need to move forward on that scale.”

Payments on the loan money, which is being offered to the town at 1 percent interest, is estimated at nearly $19,000 per month. Spradling, Shell and Gregg all said they would like to see residents vote on the issue.

In other action, the council:

  • Announced an Octoberfest on Oct. 1 on the library grounds, and a haunted house at the community center the last two weekends in October;
  • Agreed to purchase culvert for $700 to replace two joints damaged at the park during a storm;
  • Agreed to buy a $220 power supply for police radios at Miller’s in Parkersburg;
  • Hired Damon Morgan as the town attorney;
  • Decided to fix a sinkhole on Lewis Street at a cost of $3,100; and,
  • Agreed to research a possible variance for a business in a residential area, as requested by Tim Stone.

Trent Roush, area manager for Woodmen Life, attended to explain his company and the life insurance and retirement plans they offer.

Councilman Gregg said a representative from the Army Corps of Engineers will be meeting with the council Aug. 23 regarding recent flooding in the north end of town. He asked that anyone having photos of the high water to bring them to the town hall prior to that date.

Attending were Spradling, and council members Shell, Gregg and Jim Elias.

By Mindy Kearns

Special to OVP

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.