ROCK CREEK — The City of Madison has been ordered to clean up a site at Rock Creek where the city dumped construction debris from a trio of buildings it demolished.
Initially, the debris was to be used as “fill” on a plot of privately owned property.
A unilateral order, which was obtained by the Coal Valley News and produced by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, was issued to the City of Madison in May regarding the situation at Rock Creek.
“Beyond this order, we have no further updates as our investigation is still ongoing,” acting WVDEP Communications Director Terry Fletcher said via email.
The order gave the City of Madison 14 days to produce a “plan of corrective action.”
Madison Mayor Buddy Hudson said the delay is based on a lack of funding available to move the debris. He said the city is accepting responsibility and will comply with orders.
“We have been communicating and responding to the DEP regularly,” Hudson in a phone interview. ”We did have it tested and there is a low quantity of asbestos in there. They are thinking that because of this, it could be taken to a local landfill instead of transporting it to Kentucky, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet. We have no money to clean it up and we have sent a letter to the governor’s office requesting assistance from a program that he has, and I received a preliminary response back, but we are waiting on further communication regarding the potential for securing that funding.”
The lot sits adjacent to the Fountain of Life Worship Center, where Senior Pastor Mick Frye lives, about 30 yards from the property in question — visible just feet from the intersection of U.S. 119 and Route 3 at Rock Creek. Frye expressed public concerns on social media, drawing attention to the site and the situation.
“The city has no money and I’ve talked to our DEP contact about our desire to comply, but we are challenged financially,” Hudson said. “We put it there. The county didn’t put it there. The property owner didn’t put it there. We put it there and we aren’t going to throw anyone under the bus. We have to find the money to move it.”
In January, the CVN reported that the City of Madison owed up to $622,000 in federal payroll taxes dating back to 2016. City officials say a state forensic audit is nearing completion after delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Via public meetings where the tax debt has been discussed, the city has been making $5,000 monthly installment payments to the IRS.
Look for further updates on this developing story in future editions of the CVN.