By Pauline O. Hovey, Field Officer
The Greene County Board of Supervisors held a rather short and smooth-flowing meeting Tuesday night (9/28) despite an agenda that included a joint public hearing on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) application to fund capital school facilities projects and a request from a local developer concerning private water and septic systems. With a small crowd in attendance, the meeting lasted no more than a half hour, with no one signed up to speak either on the public hearing or on the general matters from the public.
The public hearing, held in conjunction with the Greene County Economic Development Authority, is a USDA requirement as the County moves forward in the loan application process to fund capital projects for the Greene County Public Schools. Four EDA representatives attended but did not speak on the matter.
Much public discussion and input on the project has already occurred, from standing room only crowds filling previous meetings over the summer months urging supervisors to at least move forward with the grant application process, to numerous residents providing input at open meetings with the project’s steering committee. Supervisor Jim Frydl (Ruckersville), who serves on the steering committee, reported that he has emailed an updated rough estimate of the project to the other board members and noted the steering committee has determined the main priorities of those under consideration.
Mr. Steve Jones, chief operating officer representing Fried Companies, Inc., revisited an issue he presented two weeks ago asking the board to consider his company’s request for a certificate of convenience and necessity for private community water and septic systems for their proposed Monroe Heights Subdivision located at Celt Road in Stanardsville. No public water and sewer system is currently available at that location, but because the proposed subdivision is more than 50 lots and the County already has a public service authority in existence, the State Corporation Commission (SCC ) requires the County approve a certificate of convenience and necessity before Fried Companies can pursue the project with the SCC.
At the previous board meeting, Jones brought the company’s civil engineer and soil scientist along with a manufacturer of alternative drain field systems to explain to the supervisors the science, maintenance, and workings of such a system, providing as much information as possible. Jones later provided a follow-up letter of commitment to establish an escrow account for a reserve drain field. Jones’ presentation and the company’s financial commitment gave the supervisors enough details and reassurance to address any concerns that the County would be responsible for any future maintenance or provision of water and sewer to homeowners at the site.
Jones explained that Fried Companies will set up an escrow account for a 100-percent reserve drain field, dismissing the County from any responsibility for future water and sewer needs. The company has proposed depositing a specific amount into the escrow account upon the sale of the first 20 lots, to enable them to activate the reserve drain field, and this has been stated in their letter of commitment.
After County attorney Ray Clarke reported on the matter, noting that Fried Companies has legally covered everything it can on this project, Supervisor Buggs Peyton (Stanardsville) said he was satisfied that sufficient funds would be set aside to address future water and sewer needs. Aware of possibly addressing the issue of water and sewer systems in the future, Supervisor Jim Frydl (Ruckersville) added, “We need to define the service area for the public authority (RSA), so that we avoid placing private systems where public infrastructure already exists.” The board then voted unanimously to pass a resolution approving the certificate, noting acceptance of Fried Company’s commitment to build an escrow account.
“We’re very excited that we got the County at the comfort level they needed to enable us to move forward with the SCC,” Jones said afterwards.
In other matters, Greene County Schools Superintendent David Jeck asked that technology reimbursement funds that mistakenly had not been transferred from last year’s school budget be added back into this year’s budget. He also requested the board vote to use a portion of Greene County’s allocation of monies from the Federal jobs bill to reinstate benefits that had been removed from employees last year. The board voted to adopt a proposal for the Federal jobs bill funding and postponed a final decision on the technology reimbursement until their next meeting (October 12) based on their rules of order regarding reallocation of funds.