KEYSER - The City of Keyser and the New Creek Public Service District have reached an agreement in their ongoing litigation over sewage fees.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The City of Keyser and the New Creek Public Service District have reached an agreement in their ongoing litigation over sewage fees.
With the last-minute agreement being reached late Tuesday - minutes before a 5 p.m. deadline -  the Public Service Commission hearing scheduled for Wednesday was therefore cancelled.
New Creek had filed a grievance against Keyser with the Public Service Commission on Nov. 20, 2018, claiming that the city’s flow meter measuring the amount of sewage coming from New Creek to be treated by Keyser was inaccurate and improperly maintained, causing the cost to be higher than it should be.
The PSC investigated the claim, however, and recommended on Dec. 2 that the claim be dropped. The City of Keyser subsequently filed a request for the PSC to direct New Creek to pay the $186,429 owed to the city.
A public hearing on the matter was set for May 1 in Mineral County.
Keyser mayor Damon Tillman said Wednesday that attorneys for both sides had been working diligently to resolve the matter prior to that hearing date.
“The parties, with the assistance of legal counsel, reached an agreement in principle to compromise and settle the dispute and begin the process of improving relationships between the district and the City of Keyser,” Tillman said in a prepared statement.
“This resolution enables the district to continue providing valuable services for the residents of New Creek and will allow Keyser to recoup revenue to defray the costs of sewage treatment,” he said.
According to Tillman, although the details remain to be worked out, the agreement entails New Creek agreeing to pay back $150,000 of the $186,429 that they owe, with complete repayment to be made over a one-year period.
“This is in effect a 19 percent discount for New Creek,” attorney Scott McClure said.
Attorneys McClure and Trent Redman, a Keyser native, are representing the city in the litigation.
New Creek, of course, will have to continue to pay the monthly charges for sewage along with the payments on the settlement.
“With their rate included, they’ll probably going to owe us between $53,000-$57,000 a month,” Tillman said.
“If they fail to make a payment, there will be a  penalty fee assessed.”
Tillman said he felt the settlement was in the best interest of the citizens of Keyser.
“Both sides agreed that this is a workable solution,” city administrator Buck Eagle said.