Mon County Commission watching MUB pipeline developments closely

MORGANTOWN – With speculation swirling about what is holding up negotiations between the Morgantown Utility Board, City of Morgantown and BOPARC over the licensing agreement for the new raw-water pipeline, the President of the Monongalia County Commission is concerned about the potential ramifications of the entities not reaching an agreement.

“An agreement was reached several years ago, whether they like it or not, to raise the rates,” County Commission President Tom Bloom stated on Monday’s edition of Talk of the Town on WAJR. “We’ve already agreed to pay these rates for this pipeline.”

“We’re already paying those rates. For the city to do this, it’s wrong.” – Mon County Commission President Tom Bloom

Morgantown City Council agreed to an alternative route for the pipeline through part of White Park following weeks of public meetings, soil testing, and public input. MUB opted to abandon the original plans for the pipeline amid outcry over the removal of a number of trees along the route. As proposed, the alternative route that was agreed was the shortest and cheapest path for the pipeline to get water from the new reservoir to the water treatment facility. The new route would increase the price of the original project from $2.1 million to approximately $2.9 million.

Now, it appears negotiations between MUB and the city have stalled in recent weeks, leading to speculation that the two sides have reached an impasse over stipulations to be included in the agreement.

“The emergency pipeline is the priority, not funding of BOPARC, not funding a particular city interest, it’s the water line. That needs to be done and that’s what is concerning to the county,” stated Bloom.

The route traversing a section of White Park was chosen over the more expensive alternative route that avoided the park completely. However, that route includes constructing a pump state as well as moving water, gas and sewage lines. It also comes with a heftier price tag that would necessitate a rate increase for MUB customers.

MUB services over 100,000 customers in the Morgantown area, over half of whom live outside the Morgantown city limits.

MUB meets Monday night at 6 pm. An executive session is scheduled to discuss the licensing agreement.

City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday night an update on the agreement is also on council’s agenda.