FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL
By. Neil Williamson, President
Earlier this week (10/26) Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) meeting, Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris suggested the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) should step in and “mediate” the dispute between Charlottesville and Albemarle County regarding the community water supply. Mayor Norris described the two localities as “squabbling children” and suggested rather than having the DEQ answer written questions perhaps they would want to sit down in a meeting and help the two localities work the issues out. Later in discussion, Mayor Norris accepted the term “facilitate” might be a better description than “mediate”.
The Free Enterprise Forum believes that asking the DEQ, a state regulatory agency, to mediate (or “facilitate”) the water supply dispute is as sensible as asking the IRS to help you build your household budget.
In his written Responses to Public Comment, RWSA Tom Frederick expressed his frustration with the RWSA Board failing to provide clear direction:
With respect to the state water plan, it’s time to get the horse in front of the cart. Our public officials need to agree, hopefully before the end of this year, on what the local plan is in time for the RWSA staff to be able to write the state water plan submittal. The deadline for the state plan submittal should not become an excuse to “do another study” while board officials postpone making decisions. Our state plan is suppose to be a regional one, shared by the City and County as well as the Town of Scottsville. How can the RWSA staff possibly write one regional plan for the Urban Water System unless the two local governments first agree on what plan each will accept? In the context of trying to meet a November 2011 deadline, RWSA staff disagrees with the idea that the most important question should be when is the staff going to do the work? The first and most important question, without which failure is guaranteed above and beyond RWSA staff’s control, is when are the officials on the public boards going to agree on the plan? [emphasis added – nw]
The Free Enterprise Forum is quickly losing patience with our friend, the Mayor. It was clear in the RWSA meeting the proposal of DEQ mediation was not a sense of City Council but was yet one more unvetted mayoral independent initiatives. From the outside, it seems that the mayor’s tactics (which may or may not accurately reflect City Council) are designed to delay implementation of any plan.
Perhaps that is the plan.
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