Fluvanna Commentary: The Citizen Water Committee

By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Representative

It probably always has been this way, but put a citizen committee together to make recommendations on any subject, and the prospect that someone will try to hijack it are pretty much certain.CLIPART_OF_15195_SM_2-300x225

So it seems with Fluvanna County’s latest iteration of such a committee: the citizen’s water committee. Formed to get citizen views on how to increase the availability of clean water to county residents, it has the ancillary purpose of trying to amend for past supervisor mistakes on the issue. There is a widespread feeling in the county that citizens were ignored when Fluvanna joined with Louisa County to form a joint water authority.

Citizens representing various citizen organizations sit on the committee, which is chaired by the interim county administrator. But there are signs that some on the committee seem bent on using it to further their own agendas.

Already, for example, the spokesman for the Fluvanna Friends of Rural Preservation has stated that the “prospects for protecting the Rural Preservation Area are even gloomier than I feared”. The committee has met twice.

Moreover, the spokesman also apparently was miffed that he was not allowed to broaden the discussion of a primary waterline to include lateral connectors, which he contended would violate the Comprehensive Plan. This was ruled “too far afield” by the committee chair.

The call to arms may stir the loyalists but it also has had a disquieting effect. At least one member already has considered resigning over the insertion of the rural preservation issue and given the county’s delicate financial situation, a fractured committee would not help advance the waterline’s prospects.

Without firm leadership, the committee may well end up doing more harm than good, and create more problems for supervisors than it was tasked to solve.

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