New H2GO board picks chair, begins new majority against RO plant, asset transfer


LELAND, NC (WWAY) –┬áThe board of commissioners at H2GO met for the final time this year. The last meeting was not without its share of drama as customers packed Leland Middle School.

Commissioners Rodney McCoy and Ronnie Jenkins were officially sworn in. Customers also gave their take on the H2GO, town of Belville controversy.

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“I feel we have had enough of this and we need to get it straight and we need to get it straight right now,” said Charles Troll the final speaker who went before the old H2GO board during the Tuesday night public comment.

Carl Antos and Chairman Bill Browning are leaving the H2GO board.

The meeting was the last one for commissioner Carl Antos and Chairman Bill Browning. Antos spoke early in the meeting thanking the staff for their work and complimented the water and sewer service district as one of the most efficient public groups that he has ever worked with.

It was during the public comment period where customers for and against the reverse osmosis plant as well as the transfer of assets to Belville gave their opinions.

“Those of you that participated in the transfer have circumvented one of the very pillars of our Democracy, elections,” said Mark Rice of Leland.

The results of that November 7th election brought Bill Beer onto the board and shifted the balance to have a majority now against the RO plant as well as against the asset transfer.

“People complain that they’re going against the election but they’re also going against a very large number of public residents who want safe water,” said Kathy West of Compass Pointe.

The meeting comes as H2GO’s executive director was ordered to stall all work done on the plant.

Neighbors of Compass Pointe line up to give public comment at the H2GO 12/19/17 meeting.

“Everything is frozen,” said commissioner Jeff Gerken who was elected as chairman during the meeting. “The construction has been halted and we’re just waiting until the lawyers sort it out.”

Belville owns the water and sewer district’s assets now as a result of that judge’s ruling. Who has the power, be it H2GO or Belville, is still up in the air.

Board members that campaigned for the plant say they will work to continue what they started.

“I am looking forward to having safe, clean contaminant free water and continuing with the RO plant whether it’s Belville or whether it’s any government entity,” said commissioner Ronnie Jenkins.

Final business at the meeting was electing Jeff Gerken the new chairman, Trudy Trombley the vice chair and Bill Beer the commission secretary. All three were elected by a vote 3-2. Chairman Gerken also made a motion to bring back informal hearings and that passed 5-0 with McCoy and Jenkins not making an official vote. Vice Chair Trombley issued a motion to take money from the holiday party fund and turn that to pay raises to employees of H2GO.

You can take a look at the history of how H2GO got to this point here.