September 19, 2013
The Fluvanna County Board Supervisors voted on two issues bringing water into the county.
The board voted Wednesday night to postpone a deal with Aqua Virginia, the company that wants to bring water to Zion Crossroads.
The meeting lasted well into the night, but in the end the board voted 3-2 to wait 30 days before penning a deal with Aqua Virginia.
The water and sewer company said Fluvanna needs water at the Zion Crossroads area to support development. It cited a Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Aqua Virginia also said that Fluvanna is losing increasingly more money on its water service, that Aqua Virginia's service would be the lowest cost rate plan, and the Fluvanna will make money off of the deal.
A few more than fifteen spoke in public comment against they deal. Commenters said the contract was a bad deal and that current customers said Aqua Virginia's rates are too expensive.
"Most people don't seem to like paying them exorbitant rates. They charge three times as much as we paid in Fairfax County, which is one of the wealthiest counties in the country," said Bill Caligan, a Fluvanna County resident, after the meeting.
Commenters also said the deal could force people using wells to connect to the new system.
"I don't think our county should be telling citizens who own land and pay property taxes on that land for a long time that they have to hook up to a water system. That's pretty scary," said Amy Taylor, a Fluvanna County resident.
"I think Aqua Virginia's a bunch of crooks, so I think it should have been rejected," Caligan said.
The second proposal during the meeting focused on bringing water to the area through a partnership with Louisa County.
Supervisors considered a deal which would bring a pipeline from the James River to Louisa County.
In the proposal, Louisa and Fluvanna would split the $3.3 million cost and share the water in the future.
The board approved the proposal with a 3-2 vote.
"Something as important as water and water for both counties, transparency is pretty much essential, so, while I'm happy we're moving in the right direction, I certainly would like to see a whole lot more transparency," said Tony O'Brien after the vote.
O'brien is a Fluvanna County resident and a candidate for the Board of Supervisors in November. He is running to replace Joe Chesser in the Rivanna District.
There were some changes made to the proposal before it was approved. Part of the amendment was that Louisa County would fund extra pipe capacity at a site yet to be specified.
During the item, a Louisa representative mentioned that Louisa had offered to pay for the whole pipeline.
"A comment was made by a Louisa representative saying that they had previously offered to pay for the whole amount," O'Brien pointed out. "Those are the kinds of details that I'd like to know more about so that I could understand if we are in fact getting a good deal, a fair deal, for both sides."
The board considered waiting to vote on the pipeline until its October 16 regular meeting, but to approve the amendment instead to speed up the planning process.