RIPLEY - A delegation from the Southern Jackson County Public Service District appeared before the Jackson County Commission at its regular meeting on Thursday to update the commissioners on the current seven-week stalemate that has idled work on the $3.6 million water project on Route 33.

Columbia Gas has halted the project due to a dispute about the installation of new water lines in relation to gas transmission lines.

The stalemate appears to be a case of federal law versus state law. Southern Jackson County residents told commissioners that money for the project will now be spent for legal services and kill any chance for a water line extension to Station Camp residents.

"Every day nothing is settled is another day we go without water," lamented one resident.
Said another, "We shouldn't be the scapegoat because of what happened at Sissonville (gas line explosion). Sissonville has nothing to do with this."

Commission President Tommy Nutter agreed, saying the current stalemate would likely not be happening had the Sissonville explosion not occurred.

State Senator Mitch Carmichael who attended the meeting pledged to try to bring the two sides together for a meeting to try to solve the ongoing dilemma.

Commisisoners heard a report from OES Director Walter Smittle III.

Smittle informed Commissioners that the county's Weapons of Mass Destruction Hazmat Grant has been increased from the original $16,000 to $45,000. Equipment has been ordered, received and distributed to all county fire departments.
He explained that a two-year emergency management project is underway that will make Jackson County among the counties in the country to participate.

Smittle was appointed to the Flood Plain Committee at a recent conference at Davis.

Smittle gave kudos to Chief Jason Baltic and the Silverton Fire Department for their work at a recent propane tank leak at Wilding.

Smittle reported that the Hargrave Tower microdish is up and Premier Construction is responsible for transferring transmitter equipment to the new tower. The commissioner approved the payment to $33,605.63 for tower work.
Smittle said a disaster drill last week involving a real world threat scenario went well at Jackson General Hospital. The drill involved the hospital personnel and law enforcement. The drill went well, Smittle said. Gaps were identified and will be addressed. JGH CEO Stephanie McCoy was pleased with the exercise, he said.

Smittle said he would like to see the U-Turn concert held recently on the courthouse square move to the County Farm due to the possible disruption of emergency communications.

Attorney Cam Siegrist of Bowles & Rice was on hand to conduct a public hearing on the refinancing of loans and financing of a new fire truck by the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department. $450,000 in loans are involved with $110,000 in new money with WesBanco as the lending agency. The commission approved the refinancing and financing agreements between Wesbanco and the Ripley VFD and a supplement to the financial aid agreement.
In other action, Commissioners:

• Tabled action on the paramedic tuition program.
• Transferred Rachel Rhodes from part-time to full-time to fill an animal shelter vacancy.
• Approved exonerations as submitted by Assessor Brian K. Thomas and fiduciary paperwork as submitted by the Fiduciary Supervisor.
• Approved Coal Severance budget revision No. 1.
• Acknowledged Michael Perry's wish not to serve an addition term as a member of the Cottageville PSD. His term expires October 1, 2013.
• Acknowledged the employment of Julia Williams as a Court Officer with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department retroactive to July 1, 2013.
• Appointed D.J. Martin and Richard Stephens to additional terms on the Deputy Sheriff Civil Service Commission.
• Appointed Mark Garrett to an additional term as a member of the Jackson County Airport Authority.
• Appointed Marcia Ritchie to an additional term as a member of the Jackson County Library Board.
• Cancelled the commission's July 18 meeting.