Search for an operator continues; lift inspection delayed at Timberline; opening day scheduled for December


As Timberline promises an upcoming opening day of the ski season, movement on securing a water operator seems to have stalled.  The November 26 inspection of the ski lifts was delayed.

A view of the lodge and slopes after days of snow blowing.

Timberline Utility does not have a certified water operator.  Tracy Edmonds Herz, wife of Owner Fred Herz, stressed that the boil water notice is precautionary, due to the fact that the notice is based on the lack of a certified water operator not on water quality.

Residences in the Timberline Utility network have been under a boil water notice for over a month.  The Department of Health and Human Resources is willing to lift the notice once a full month is scheduled with an operator.

Lift inspector Chris Hanrahan was scheduled to inspect the lifts on November 26.  That inspection was delayed.  “All the chairs were not on, so we are coordinating with him,” Tracy said.  As of last Saturday, Hanrahan commented that a specific rescheduled date has not been set.

No specific details regarding the county or state criminal investigations were divulged.  Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora did not comment on the investigations.

“We’ve supplied them with everything they’ve asked for,” Tracy said in regards to the West Virginia Public Service Commission investigation. “We have complied and met the obligations to give the funds to the PSD which were agreed to.  The Canaan Valley Public Service District began drawing funds from the Timberline Utilities accounts.  Thus far, there have been three draws totaling, $27,917.50.  In reference to the draws, Tracy stated, “I think there was one day where the banks didn’t communicate, and it didn’t happen, but that wasn’t on us.”

Tracy stated that Timberline management is also trying to figure out what happened with the funds that were supposed to be paid to the Canaan Valley Public Service District.  Tracy mentioned that issues with billing might have contributed to the lack of payments to the PSD.

In an email, Tracy released a list of goals for the resort and utility companies.  Long term goals (12 months) include: “PW36 Protocol time trial underway; System Owners/Administrators Class 1 Certification positioning them to be on track to attain a Class 2 certification ASAP.”

Mid term goals (two to four months) include: “Class 1 Operator employed full time by the system; Class 2 or higher Operator on 1099 status to help part time to fulfill BPH regulated requirements; Implementation of monitoring equipment in conjunction with computer controls to be in a position to request the start of the time trial to implement a PW36 Protocol. Research available funding to aid in system improvements; Continue to explore an allowance for a rate increase to be granted by the PSC.”

Short term (Immediate) goals include: “Secure enough WTP Operators to fill a month to two month schedule; Conduct light flushing and complete Bac-T sampling to get the boil water advisory lifted; Conduct a public notice to clear up all outstanding violations; Establish a sampling plan to ensure all required sampling is conducted on time; Make sure all paperwork; from operational reports to sample results, are being populated in a specific location, to ensure nothing gets lost; Establish one operator to be responsible for document submission to the Charleston BPH; Address the issue with the condition of the location of the telemetry screens, or conduct a thorough housecleaning of the utility shed.”

The West Virginia Public Service Commission will hold a hearing on whether Timberline Utilities will operate under receivership.  The hearing will be held in the Pine Room, Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center, Route 32 North, Canaan Valley State Park, Davis, West Virginia, at 9:30 am on December 13, 2018.