The Great Rate Debate

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It's not just the proposed 62 percent increase in water rates that rile Lubeck-area residents. One of them has filed a complaint saying the public service district board ignored an order by the state Public Service Commission. That order required it to re-file a rate increase request the PSC granted in 1997, so it could be reconsidered in 2000.

"The new rate filing and the annual audited reports that the Public Service District files with the Public Service Commission," says Lubeck PSD attorney Richard Hayhurst, "gave the Public Service Commission all the information that would have been provided to them, had we re-opened the rate case."

Opponents say the board has also piled up a large debt in the district, one that will take years to erase. Opponents of the rate hike say they want some of the members of the Public Service District board replaced.

Members of the Wood County Commission say that's not something it can get involved with.

"It would appear any formal request to have commissioners removed from their positions could be done in a petition to the Circuit Court, and not the commission," says County Commission President Rick Modesitt. "That would be the proper forum for the request to be heard."

Modesitt adds, however, that prosecutor Ginny Conley is reviewing the state statute regarding removing public service board members.

Meanwhile, the PSC is holding two public meetings on the rate increase request. They'll be held February 17 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m, at the Parkersburg City Council chambers.