Fluvanna Supervisors Pass Aqua Contract in Unscheduled Vote

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

aqua-america-logo_thumb.jpgFluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors passed the public-private partnership agreement (PPEA) with Aqua to provide water to the County on a 3-2 vote.  

The motion was made by Joe Chesser (Rivanna District) included amendments to the full agreement. They included changing language of jurisdiction selection in case of a lawsuit and also extending the window for initial deposit. Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) seconded the motion.

It all occurred during ‘Old Business’ as a vote on the PPEA was previously never recorded. The issue was announced as tabled because of the impasse on legal restrictions from both sides. Still a vote to reject the proposal was never taken. http://freeenterpriseforum.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/fluvanna-water-deal-runs-dry/

Ullenbruch-Nov-2012-Web_thumb.jpg

Bob Ullenbruch

Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) took issue with how the motion was made during old business. Because it was an item still without a vote, it was free to be brought up for a vote.

“I don‘t know where this has come from,” Weaver said.

The item not being on the agenda was Weaver and Ullenbruch’s primary defense to the raising objection to procedure of the motion and subsequent vote.

After short discussion Booker compared the Aqua motion to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget vote, where supervisors slashed the school budget over $2 million. She said the procedure was the same.

After it being called ‘under the table discussions’ by Weaver, chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) said, “So we are now addressing it in the light of day and it is wrong?”

County administration and legal staff were not aware the motion would be entertained prior to the meeting. Fred Payne, county attorney, said he could not give a legal analysis without fully reviewing the file again.

He still was concerned after the initial hearing of the jurisdiction amendment. He had concerns it still would not cement a hearing in Fluvanna Circuit Court on any issue of the contract but still leave it open to federal district court.

“I have never seen a county treated fairly in federal court,” Payne said.

Kenney asked if his concerns were because the last time Fluvanna was in court, it lost on a First Amendment case regarding the use of the seal. Payne would not respond directly to the question but said in his experience counties do not receive “justice in federal court.”

Payne said after he conducts a legal analysis he still might not approve the contract. Kenney asked for clarification if the board could override his legal opinion to which Payne responded yes.

After the meeting Chesser said in an interview there has not been direct conversation with Aqua but it is believed the amendments will not stop the deal.

Free Enterprise Forum will have more on the vote and the specific motion language later.  

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.

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2 responses

  1. The writer of this article did a fine job of glossing over the County Attorney Fred Payne’s significant legal objections that he raised during the meeting… And the writer also did a fine job highlighting the meaningless comment Kenney made ribbing Fred Payne for the loss of an unrelated legal case against this same writer. Aren’t ethical journalists supposed to reveal any potential conflict of interest? I don’t know why I would expect any better from a crackerjack pimply-faced wanna-be reporter spawned in the abysmal belly of the FCPS. Does he even proof his articles before he posts them? The second sentence is a grammatical failure.

  2. […] Supervisors voted 3-2 to support moving forward in a public private partnership with Aqua Virginia [click here for Free Enterprise Forum story].  The  three supervisors who voted for the Aqua deal each had different aspects to discuss […]

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