By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Whether this is attributed to Einstein, Franklin or Rita Mae Brown , it now no longer holds true for the Greene County Board of Supervisors relative to having EDUs purchased (or not being purchased).
By means of background an EDU or Equivalent Dwelling Unit is the unit of measure by which the Authority charges for tying in to the water and sewer infrastructure. In concept, the existing users have paid into develop the system that exists and this surcharge allows the provider the funds to ensure debt service on existing infrastructure and capital for future expansion. An Equivalent Dwelling Unit or EDU is defined as one-single family residential household. Multi family residential units and non residential facility EDU assessments are also calculated on a fixed “EDU basis” depending on the use.
At the request of Supervisor Davis Lamb, he May 28th BOS meeting was preceded by a workshop that the BOS held to receive comments about improving business in the county . After many complimentary comments to the BOS, Steve Jones, President/COO of the Fried Companies, Inc. spoke on the $20,000 hook-up fee (water and sewer combined) in Greene Co. vs. other counties averaging $2,500.
Jones further explained that these high fees are truly hurting residential development. The fee is a flat $20,000 regardless the size of the home. Commercial entities have a difficult time getting up to a level of business to absorb this significant start-up cost and, therefore, it restricts business development. He suggested that the county look at a meter size based system and increase user rates for commercial users.
Fast forward to the most recent BOS meeting – June 25th – and Chairman Jim Frydl brought up the issue for discussion with the rest of the BOS (minus Eddie Deane who was absent from this meeting). There was agreement among the supervisors that something needs to change in order to attract more business. While the payments start for the water and sewer system it is critical that Greene County look for innovative ways to generate income – either capital fees and/or operating fees – to help offset these costs.
When Frydl was asked about this issue after the meeting he stated, “ the Board is very interested in attracting and supporting business growth and will explore strategies to further these goals”.
The hiring of John Barkley to the County Administrator position effective July 1st (he did attend the June 5th BOS meeting) should help expedite the analysis of this issue.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.