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Putnam commission to pursue loan toward water extension projects

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Putnam County commissioners plan to apply for a loan and generally move forward with three of the four waterline extension projects they had been considering, County Manager Brian Donat said Tuesday.

Commissioners have been working on bringing water to Custer Ridge, Sigmon Fork, Trace Fork and Painters Fork despite uncertainty over whether the water company will help fund the projects.

The county plans to apply for a loan with the state Infrastructure Jobs Development Council and already has $50,000 set aside for the project.

Enough user agreements had been signed in three of the areas, but not for Painters Fork, Donat said after the meeting.

Last year, West Virginia American Water pulled funding from water extension projects. But Donat said the county should know within three to four weeks if they can help with the extensions.

"Hopefully we'll hear something positive," he said.

In a 2-1 vote last month, commissioners Joe Haynes and Gary Tillis said moving forward with the waterline extension projects are worth the cost.

At the time, Tillis said the county could apply for a loan with the Infrastructure Jobs Development Council that offers a low interest rate between 1 percent and 2 percent that would help fund the extension.

Commissioner Steve Andes had voted against the motion to move forward. He said last month that the estimated $2.3 million project was too expensive, especially since Putnam is already $13 million in debt.

"I don't think it's fiscally responsible to borrow $2 million at this time. I know it's a low interest rate, but the burden is too much," he said at the time.

Last month, he called it a "hope and a prayer" that West Virginia American Water would contribute anything toward the waterline extension project.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.   

 


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