LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Why move to Charles Town?

This is such a wonderful place to live. Since we moved here in March 2012, we have been amazed by the people here. Here are just some of the incidents that have happened to us:

When moving in while taking things out of the car a neighbor offered to help me carry them in. He asked if we were staying the night and I said no because our bed was not put together yet. An hour later he and another neighbor came over and put my bed together so we could stay.

When we had the storm, a tree was knocked down and four neighborhood men came by to pull it up and re-plant it for us.

When I was trying to plant tomato plants in my backyard, my next-door neighbor came over, told me I needed a different shovel then went to his garage and dug five holes for me.

When a computer I ordered for my husband as a gift and that had been delivered the night before didn’t work, a friend tried to fix it then went at 8:00 p.m. to Martinsburg to pick up a new one for me and brought it over wrapped the next day for me to give him.

On Christmas Eve, we left in a snowstorm to visit my daughter in North Potomac and arrived home to find someone had shoveled our driveway and walk. With some detective work, we found it was a 14-year-old neighbor.

We love living here because it’s beautiful; the homes are reasonably priced, there is no traffic, shopkeepers take time to serve, there are great places to eat and we have a good doctor, but what makes it a great place to live are the outstanding neighbors. People here are fantastic.

Barbara Laumann

Charles Town

Business as usual

The ratepayers of the Jefferson County Public Service District owe a huge “thank you” to Jacquelyn Milliron and Heidi Parker for their ongoing work as interveners in a rate increase matter by the JCPSD.

In April, the JCPSD filed with the W.Va. Public Service Commission a rate increase of 14.99 percent, citing a large debt owed to Pentree Design for ongoing work. The PSC subsequently denied as not now needed and unreasonably for the current ratepayers to be responsible for.

The JCPSD continued its design costs and Milliron and Parker attended the monthly meetings and discovered it was “business as usual” at the JCPSD. The contractor sat at the staff table with a nameplate. They noted the board of directors appeared to “rubber stamp” most actions by the general manager, who was obviously steered by the contractor who is owed over one million dollars for past design work. The BOD had no knowledge of the rates now paid by the ratepayers. Chairman Cummings believed the cost was lower than the surrounding counties and states. JCPSD rates are much higher. Board Chairman Cummins did not know what the rates were and erroneously believed the rates were lower than surrounding areas. The BOD members seem to be out of touch with what ratepayers are paying but apparently not all members have attempted to learn all PSC regulations and abide by them.

The work by Milliron and Parker helped lead to a hearing on Sept. 28. Judge M. Pearl Blair’s order denied the rate increase and ordered a small reduction in rates.

Naturally, this may be appealed.

It would be beneficial to ratepayers to obtain a copy of one of the briefs or the order to see the mess the JCPSD is operating. Parker said, “The PSD and its counsel had many opportunities to act in the best interest of its ratepayers, by observing the law, filing paperwork in a timely, correct and complete manner, by identifying sources of future funding for growth projects and for using CAF funds already in their possession, to pay for the Pentree debt.”

Parker further believes the JCPSD continues to file for significant and unlawful rate increases that lead to higher rates. She also believes that a ratepayer should be a member of the BOD. At this time, the Jefferson County Commission believes a ratepayer is not eligible to be a board member. The PSC says a ratepayer “can and should be on the board.”

I recommend the ratepayers who can ill afford a hike in our already high JCPSD rates to obtain some of the hearing data and see for themselves what needs to be done.

C.C. Cheezum

Charles Town

 

W.Va. benefits by Medicaid

In Elliot Simon’s recent editorial in the Spirit “Medicaid growth bodes ill for W.Va. taxpayers” he states that Obamacare is a “fiscal time bomb” and that representatives in Charleston need to carefully consider the issues. When one “carefully considers the issues” one should have one’s facts correct, not jumbled. Mr. Simon’s editorial is full of misinformation and missing other information – and one cannot possibly have a rational discussion with such bad stuff.

Mr. Simon says West Virginia spent $2.5 billion on Medicaid in 2010. That was total Medicaid spending. West Virginia only spent $439 million. The Feds spent the other $2.1 billion. He says the states contribute 39 percent. That may be close to the national average (actually 32 percent in 2010). But in West Virginia — where it matters to us — the state contribution was only 17 percent.

He says Medicaid is for low income families. Wrong. It is for low income individuals with special needs. He fails to mention that the 400,000 individuals in West Virginia that receive Medicare benefits are not just dirt poor, but generally have significant health issues: the elderly, disabled, children, or pregnant women that get prenatal care. They are not your typical “irresponsible takers” that conservatives offensively bashed during the recent political elections.

Mr. Simon seems to be unaware that West Virginia is a major “taker state” and getting a great deal in fact by putting up just 17 percent and then getting — for free — over four times as much from the feds. That’s a pretty darn good “return on investment,” don’t you think? And “Thank God for Mississippi,” which is the only bigger taker state with its 16 percent Medicaid contribution.

He also seems to be unaware of the fact that the $2.5 billion in Medicaid spending employs a heck of a lot of people and contributes significantly to the West Virginia economy; the health care sector is the biggest employer in West Virginia.

There is a lot of other information missing from Mr. Simon’s editorial that is critical when one “considers the issues” regarding the West Virginia Medicaid program — too much to be presented in a letter to the editor.

Mr. Simon’s misinformation is a bit disturbing. It’s tough to have rational discussions with people when their facts and figures all messed up. Such misinformation leads to nonsensical comments I have heard like, “I cannot afford braces for my kids, but the moochers on food stamps and Medicaid get them for free.”

Maybe Mr. Simon should try his editorial again — this time with correct facts and figures and carefully considering all of the issues, not just select and misrepresented ones.

Don Burgess

Bolivar

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