By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Representative
Fluvanna and Louisa counties took a big step towards creating a joint water authority on February 26th. At a joint meeting of the Boards of Supervisors, the two bodies reached an informal consensus that the there should be such an authority, and that there would be three members from each county serving on it.
Supervisors in both jurisdictions will now hold the required public hearings to create such an authority although most observers view that as a mere formality. The authority, as envisioned, would be responsible for ensuring the construction of the water pipeline from the James River to Zion Crossroads and then setting the water rates for consumers in each county.
The cost of the pipeline currently is estimated at $45 million – and would be shared equally. However, that does not include a projected $3.8 million pipeline extension to Fork Union. Supervisor Charles Allbaugh (Rivanna) raised the question as to whether Louisa County would pay half of that additional cost, something that appeared to take the Louisa side by surprise.
Mr. Allbaugh’s request was then referred to an ill-defined “committee” that would work out various project details.
While it was anticipated that Aqua Virginia would address the Boards, the company was not asked to do so. Supervisor Marvin Moss (Columbia) said later that the firm had not submitted a revised proposal and if and when it did, it would be invited to make a presentation.
A spokesman for Aqua Virginia decline to comment upon the exclusion but did say: “we are encouraged that it appears the authority will be established, and we look forward to working with it”.
Officials anticipate that the authority could be established shortly by April and the counties could begin construction later this year. Fluvanna would have finance the project through a bond issue, according to one official.