CARPENDALE – The new year is bringing new rates for Carpendale as the mayor and council held the first readings of water and sewer rate increases last week.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
CARPENDALE – The new year is bringing new rates for Carpendale as the mayor and council held the first readings of water and sewer rate increases last week.
“It’s going to increase about $10,” said mayor Casey Lambert of the rates, which will take effect April 1.
It’s been 11 years since the last increase, far exceeding the Public Service Commissions recommended every three to five years.
With the proposed increase, the water will be $9.77 for 1,000 gallons for a minimum bill of $19.54 for 2,000 gallons.
The sewer bill, which is based on water usage, will be $16.76 for 1,000 gallons for a minimum bill of $33.52 for 2,000 gallons.
“Our water and sewer fund is the lowest it’s ever been,” said Lambert. “We’ve got to build that up if something happens.”
While the town keeps an extra pump on hand, the pump itself costs $10,000, not counting labor to replace it.
With bonds issued for the construction of the water and sewer projects, the town is paying out $11,000 each month in bond payments.
With the sewer loan to pay off in 2024 and the water in 2027, there are many years of payments still ahead along with maintaining and operating the systems.
In presenting the first and second readings, which were approved by the council, Lambert noted that the proposed increases were reviewed by the accountant and are recommended based on the expenses for the systems.
In other business, Lambert announced that Councilman Butch Armentrout will be representing the town at Mineral County Days in Charleston.
While there, he will be meeting with state officials on a variety of topics including the proposed bridge to Bowling Green, extension of the trail to Ridgeley, Cumberland and back to Carpendale and efforts for the Interstate 68 to Corridor H connection.
“We want a road with today’s standards to connect Interstate 68 with Corridor H,” said Armentrout, noting that the present Routes 220 and 93 are two lane and not ideal for truck traffic.
Residents questioned the bridge project, noting concerns for maintaining the culture of the neighborhood with proposed commercial development in the area.
“I have four or five legitimate businesses that want to move in there,” said Armentrout, noting that the town will be in the position to choose what goes in. “I’d rather have something over there that is productive. We want something that’s nice.”
“The benefit Carpendale will receive is in taxes. We don’t have money to fix our roads,” said Councilman Virgil O’Neal.
Resident Jodi Miller noted that many residents are saying, “Yes to the bridge, but no to the businesses.”
Vicki Hamilton said she feels many of the residents are scared that the bridge will bring in traffic from the prison and an increase in drugs to the community.
“We’re looking to the future of Carpendale,” said Lambert, noting that in the 1950s many local areas had the chance to grow and refused, saying, “We don’t want this, don’t want that and look where they are now.”
“It’s been in the planning for 10 years,” said Councilwoman Mary Jo Hinton, noting that it’s not in the long range plans for either Maryland or West Virginia and that it’s going to take a lot of money to bring the project to fruition. “It’s been a vision from way back when with Doris Marks.”
In another concern, Miller addressed the continual run off into the Miller Road area since the mountain above was clear cut.
Both First Energy and the West Virginia Department of Highways have been contacted, but no progress is being made in remedying the situation, which is causing flooding to the houses and water running across the road and freezing resulting in hazardous condition.
Miller noted that there are four places between the entrance to Carpendale and the Doris Marks Bridge where it is running across.
On a final note the council praised volunteers who have been coordinating activities for the town during the fall and Christmas season.
“These activities have really enhanced the image of the town,” said Armentrout.
Lambert agreed noting that, “It’s drawing the town closer together. He added that other areas are starting to look at starting community events because of what they see happening in Carpendale.
Residents are urged to watch the Carpendale Facebook page for upcoming meetings and events as volunteers are beginning to plan for Easter.