Heated debate erupts over Milton’s water at special City Council meeting

Water quality debated at fiery Milton City Council meeting
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 11:36 PM EDT
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - In early October, West Virginia American Water made an informal offer to the city of Milton to purchase the water supply for $10 million.

On Monday, a special City Council meeting was held to discuss how they would respond to the offer.

The meeting had been called Friday.

Megan Hannah, a spokesperson for West Virginia American Water, said the company chose not to attend Monday’s meeting because they were not invited and they had not been given proper notice.

According to Hannah, the company supplements nearly half of the city’s water supply through an interconnection with the system because the city does not have the capacity to meet demand.

At Monday’s meeting, Milton’s City Attorney, Steve Bragg elaborated on how the company already works with the city.

“West Virginia American Water supplies part of the water for Milton when certain conditions are met. When there’s a dry spell or shutdown, West Virginia American water kicks in,” he told residents in attendance.

The city of Milton’s water has been a source of frustration for some residents.

In August, several residents claimed they were without water for several days after a water main break. Additionally, other residents reported having dirty water.

“I want clean, safe water that’s reliable,” Christy Black, a resident who lives outside Milton city limits, told council members and Mayor Tom Canterbury.

Hannah told WSAZ the company has made multiple attempts to contact the city about their offer but have not been returned.

“We’ve got good, clean water,” Canterbury told resident Kelsi Miller during public comment.

“Sir, your water sucks,” Miller replied.

“I wouldn’t let my dog drink the city’s water,” another resident said during the meeting.

The meeting adjourned within half an hour.

“We have unreliable water. It is the 21st century; that shouldn’t be an issue,” Miller told reporters. “We’re not in a developing country, this should be a non-issue. West Virginia, American Water, I’m not saying that they are the answer, but I feel like we need to look into them if they are interested.”

“Whatever they want, I’m all for but I don’t appreciate them accusing me of getting kickbacks,” Canterbury said after the meeting. “I don’t appreciate that at all.”

The mayor mentioned during the meeting that he would consider a vote among Milton residents regarding the ownership of the water.

Hannah said because there was not a formal offer from West Virginia American Water about purchasing Milton’s water, there is no deadline for the city to respond.