The City of Weirton and its mill - in all its incarnations - have always had a close and mutually beneficial relationship. And we are in the hope that when city officials and ArcelorMittal representatives meet to discuss subdivisions and easements Monday, the two sides will be able to come to an agreement and move ahead the stalled North End sewage project.
The project was ordered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to prevent overflow from 1,000 structures into the Ohio River. Residents' utility bills were increased from $5.70 per thousand gallons to $6.98 in February to fund the project, and some are asking why ground has yet to be broken nearly four months after the rate increase. In addition, if the project isn't completed by December 2013, the city potentially faces fines from the DEP.
The city's sanitary board can't move forward on the project until ArcelorMittal grants the easements city officials requested in July 2011. However, following the city's planning commission approving a subdivision in March requested by ArcelorMittal, mill representatives didn't turn over the documents promised to the city. ArcelorMittal later requested the sewage line be moved, and city officials already have indicated their agreement - in fact, the move may save the city money.
The easements are required for the installation of the lines and future repairs.
City officials have indicated a willingness to work with ArcelorMittal representatives to reach a compromise that allows both the subdivision and sewer project to go forward.
We hope the mill's representatives will enter the meeting with the same willingness, and the positive relationship between the city and ArcelorMittal will continue.