JWC Water Board Elects New Members

Critic in JWC Lawsuit Unseated

JENKINSVILLE – The Jenkinsville Water Company at its annual meeting on Jan. 14 elected two new members and re-elected another to serve three-year terms on its 10-member board of directors. The water board also, in a closed-door session, re-elected Gregrey Ginyard as its president and Joseph McBride vice president.

The three-year terms for seats held by Mary White, Bertha Goins and Aquilla O’Neal were opened for nominations at the Jan. 14 meeting. White was re-elected in the vote for the first seat, 30-22, over Goins. Goins was nominated for each of the three vacancies, losing in each race.

Amanda Metz was tapped for the second vacancy, beating out Goins 30-21. Goins faced two others in the final opening, incumbent board member O’Neal and Julie Brendell. Brendell won the bid with 23 votes. Goins garnered 20 votes, while O’Neal took only 6.

Goins has been a vocal critic of the board in recent months, questioning how the board handled a request for a willingness to serve letter for additional campsites at the Broad River Campground. The board denied that request last year, and last September Glenn E. Bowens, a Winnsboro attorney, filed a lawsuit against the water company on behalf of the campground and its owner, D. Melton.

The lawsuit alleges that the water company broke its 2009 agreement with the campground. Under the 2009 contract, the daily consumption of water per site was estimated at 175 gallons per day, with the number of sites not to exceed 46 without written approval by the water company. The water company agreed to consider increasing its commitment of water if the campground wished to expand, the lawsuit states, “but only if that can be done without negatively impacting other customers of the water system.”

In 2011, Melton received approval for an additional 24 sites. The daily consumption of water per site was lowered to 53 gallons per day, based on a water study and use history since 2009 of the campground. The 8,050 gallons per day limit, meanwhile, remained in place. Melton’s request last May for the willingness to serve letter did not, according to the lawsuit, seek to increase that limit.

In her final meeting as a board member last week, prior to the election of new members, Goins again raised the issue of the campground, chastising her colleagues. Goins said she wanted to see, in writing, how Melton’s request would have negatively impacted residential customers of Jenkinsville Water.

“We do have problems on the board,” Goins said. “To deny somebody just so we can push or force somebody out is an injustice.”

Ginyard, on the other hand, said the decision was the will of the majority.

“You don’t turn on your board just because board members don’t agree with you,” Ginyard said. “We didn’t void any contract. We didn’t do anything we weren’t supposed to do. We can’t be bullied into ‘give me what I want or I’ll sue’.”

At no time, Ginyard said, did the water company or the board tell Melton he could not use all of his 8,050 gallons per day maximum.

Treatment Plant

Prior to the election of new members and the debate over the campground, Ginyard updated company members on plans for the company to build a water treatment plant on the Broad River. Ginyard said the company had applied for a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to construct the plant, which would treat up to 1 million gallons of water per day from the river.

Ginyard said the USDA had accepted the application with conditions and the company was now working with engineers to select a site for the plant. Additional paperwork on the grant was due to the USDA in the next four to six months, Ginyard said, and environmental impact studies would be required before breaking ground. The project would take two years to complete, he said.

“This could help solve some of the water problems in Fairfield County,” Ginyard told The Voice Tuesday, “if everybody works together.”