KEYSER - A hearing regarding the ongoing disagreement between the City of Keyser and the New Creek Public Service District has been set for Wednesday, May 1, in the Mineral County Courthouse.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - A hearing regarding the ongoing disagreement between the City of Keyser and the New Creek Public Service District has been set for Wednesday, May 1, in the Mineral County Courthouse.
The hearing was ordered for 1:30 p.m. by Deborah Yost VanDervort, administrative law judge with the West Virginia Public Service District.
The city and the PSD have been battling over charges for sewage  which New Creek pumps to Keyser for treatment ever since a flow meter was installed in 2017 to measure the actual sewage output. New Creek had previously been charged using a formula based upon the amount of water they consumed, and when the flowmeter was placed online, the sewage charges jumped significantly.
The City of Keyser has said the increase was due to the large amount of infiltration of rainwater and runoff going into New Creek’s sewer lines. New Creek has maintained the flowmeter was not accurate nor was it calibrated as required.
The New Creek PSD filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission on Nov. 20, 2018,  stating that New Creek cannot afford the sewage charges due to the “inaccurate” readings of the flowmeter.
A technical analyst for the PSC investigated New Creek’s claims, and on Feb. 15, 2019, the Public Service Commission recommended dismissing the case, stating that the analyst “sees no indication that the district’s flows were over measured.”
The ruling went on to state that the analyst “recommends no adjustment to the district’s bill … and also recommends continued billing based upon measured sewage flow.”
The City of Keyser then filed a complaint with the PSC, asking that New Creek be ordered to pay the overdue amount owed Keyser for sewage treatment.
And while the PSD, which recently saw Dave Boden resign and commissioner Jerry Whisner be appointed, says they do not have the money to pay Keyser, mayor Damon Tillman says its pay up or have Keyser take the system over.
“They owe us $186,429. 90,” Tillman said during the April 10 Keyser City Council meeting.  “By the end of the month, they will owe us well over $200,000.
““Their attorney has talked to our attorney and they have no idea how they’re going to pay this money back.”
According to Tillman, the citizens of Keyser are being forced to subsidize New Creek’s sewage system, and as a result,  the city might have to raise its rates to offset the losses.
“The citizens of Keyser don’t deserve that,” he said.
Tillman also commented that New Creek cost the City of Keyser even more money by “forcing us go get an outside attorney” to represent them in the PSC case.
“It’s money we’ll never get back,” he said.
Tillman feels the answer to the problem is simple: “The New Creek Public Service District needs to dissolve and merge with Keyser or someone else,” he said.
No decision will be made at the May 1 hearing. Once the hearing is concluded, a transcript will be filed by May 15, and both sides will be given the opportunity to file briefs and/or answers no later than June 5.