FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL
By. Neil Williamson, President.
After sitting through many hours of public meetings this week (9/20) regarding the community water supply, I have come to a most uncomfortable question – should the RWSA divorce?
The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) was created by the County of Albemarle and the City of Charlottesville to receive federal funds for water and wastewater treatment. According to www.Cvillepedia.org:
The RWSA was formed June 7, 1972 as a result of state and federal pressure for Charlottesville and Albemarle to work cooperatively on water and sewer services. After each locality separately filed applications for EPA grants for sewer infrastructure around 1971, the State Water Control Board held a public hearing June 14-15, 1971 and adopted a resolution “to the effect that no further Federal grant would be given either to the City of Charlottesville or the County of Albemarle until the two had formed some type of authority to administer the water and sewerage systems of both, since both were dependent on the Rivanna River for their source of potable water and the receiving stream of their wastewater effluent.”
Negotiations between the Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors led to the signing of the Four-Party Agreement dated June 12, 1973 by council, the board of supervisors, the Albemarle County Service Authority, and the RWSA.
So this was a marriage of convenience to facilitate “free” federal infrastructure funding.
A great deal has changed since this partnership was formed. If yesterday’s (9/21) meeting of the Four Boards (ACOB, ACSA, CCC, & RWSA) is any indication these four groups may no longer have shared goals. In the meeting, at times they did not even have shared facts.
www.Buzzle.com lists these frequently cited reasons for causing divorce:
Lack of commitment to the union
Lack of communication between partners
Inability to manage or resolve conflict
Personality Differences or ‘irreconcilable differences’
Differences in personal and career goals
Cultural and lifestyle differences
On each of these counts an argument can be made that each of the partners may have not met their obligations under the partnership.
Whenever one is considering ending a long time partnership, the costs and benefits to the relationship must be weighed and important questions must be answered:
- With so much public acrimony, can this partnership be salvaged?
- Can trust between partners be restored?
- Does everyone really want to work toward that end?
- If not, how will we divide the assets of the RWSA? How will we as a community provide future water and sewer treatment?
Once again we have more questions than answers.
Neil Williamson, President
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org