CROSS LANES, W.Va. — Board members of the Union Public Service District in Cross Lanes have voted to reject a purchase agreement with West Virginia American Water Company.

Andy Shamblin

The Union PSD board met Wednesday afternoon at the Tyler Mountain Volunteer Fire Department to take up the water company’s offer to buy Union’s sewer system for $24 million and make millions of dollars worth of investments into it over time.

The purchase would have meant a rate increase at just over 77% over 3 years until December 2027. The current monthly rate for the average customer’s bill is $39.91.

Kanawha County Delegate Andy Shamblin was happy with the decision from the board.

“Based on stakeholder feedback, they decided to reject the offer and the community stands behind the,” Shamblin said.

The Union Public Service District is a non-profit organization that employs about a dozen people. There are about 5,200 residential customers in Cross Lanes that are serviced by the PSD.

Shamblin is a Nitro resident and also a member of Nitro City Council but is in an area that the Union PSD services in Brookehaven. He said the PSD is in great shape and has always been of good service to him.

“They’ve taken steps to make sure they are financially solvent,” said Shamblin. “They’ve mentioned some upcoming projects that they are involved in and an upgrade to Brookehaven is one of them.”

About 100 people had attended a public meeting in late February where the PSD and county officials told residents about the purchase proposal from WVAWC. Approximately 2,000 residents had signed a petition stating they were against the sale of the PSD.

“The community response has been overwhelmingly in support of the local board keeping control of it,” said Shamblin. “When you’re backed into a corner, I think the tendency is to fight and that’s what the board decided to do.”

The Union PSD is hoping to move forward on a few projects to upgrade their system. Shamblin said the board is taking care of their bond payments in order to be in a better financial situation.