Campground concerns aired at county meeting


BUCKHANNON — Lorraine, Ohio resident Theresa Lane said she and her family have been vacationing in the Middle Fork Campground for the past four years.

“We have relatives here, and we’re originally from here, so it’s a nice place to come and spend the summer,” Lane said Sunday.

But she’s not sure she’ll be making the trip this year. Lane, who keeps in touch with other campers in the 259-site campground, said she’s heard there’s been no water and no electricity there since the end of April.

“There’s no way for us to use it or even come clean up our campsite,” Lane told The Record Delta in a telephone interview. “This is just ridiculous.”

Melissa Clutter, who along with her husband Robert, owns the campground under the name R&M Middle Fork LLC, said it’s true that the power was shut off as of May 1. The couple couldn’t afford to keep the power on, Clutter said, because only about 60 of the 259 campsite owners/renters have paid their $915 annual dues. The $915 annual fee is paid in exchange for electric, water and road maintenance, Clutter said.

“If you’re not getting the dues paid, you can’t pay the electric bill,” Clutter said Sunday. “It’s just simple math.”

But Lane, who says her family has paid its dues, isn’t the only one who’s voiced concerns lately.

At the Thursday, May 24, Upshur County Commission meeting, Sally Hardman, a Georgia resident, said she’d purchased five lots in the campground and invested upwards of $100,000 in those properties. Hardman had wanted her grandchildren to experience the same type of childhood she had, but the problem is, there’s no electric.

“We pay dues to the Middle Fork River Campground Homeowners’ Association, but unfortunately, that association … has never met its obligations,” Hardman said. “Personally, this affects me. My grown children are coming up June 6 or June 8. I’ve been trying to get them to come up here, saying, ‘you’re going to love it, you’re going to love it,’ … and they’re going to come up here and we’re not going to have electricity.”

“I’m just kind of at my wit’s end,” Hardman told the commission. “I think this could turn into a public relations issue for Upshur County … I don’t want Buckhannon to get a black eye when all these people come in for the summer and say, ‘what’s going on? We’re paying for services that are not being provided.’”

Clutter says she’s owed $210,000 by campers who haven’t paid their annual dues. The electric bill costs about $5,000 to $7,000 a month, and she just can’t make the payment without collecting the dues. Right now, it would take $12,600 to turn the electric back on, she said.

“They haven’t paid dues that were owed on Sept. 30, 2017, and the electric was on all the way up until May 1 of this year,” Clutter said. “We were paying it anyway.”

The water is flowing simply because campers have connected a generator to the pump on her well, Clutter added.

Clutter said as a result of a small group of residents — she estimates about 30 — the Upshur County Health Department revoked her licenses to operate the bathhouses, store and RV sites.

“I know [not having electricity] isn’t fair to the ones who have paid their dues, but the electric is all on one meter, and I can’t change that,” Clutter said.

But Lane remains frustrated.

“It doesn’t make any difference whether or not the other people have paid their dues,” she said. “We’ve paid our dues, and we should be able to use our campsite. It doesn’t make sense that the electric company wouldn’t try to come to terms or work out some kind of arrangement with her. There have been all sorts of promises made about the services we were going to have, but the services have just deteriorated.”

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