By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
The deal had legal concerns that were to be worked on since the public hearing in September. The deadline to remedy the issues was Oct. 2. Instead of announcing a final deal in place, both sides announced talks have mutually ended.
Sources close to the agreements believe the sides were very close and were able to overcome many legal obstacles. There was much desire for both sides to work out a deal because of the economic impacts.
Fluvanna was looking at the opportunity to supply water to the Zion Crossroads area without having to build and maintain the main infrastructure. The most valuable part was the county’s only withdrawal permit is for the James River, across the county. The cost of building just a treatment plant to is higher than paying the Aqua deal for 20 years.
Using Aqua’s proposal of 500,000 gallons per day of drinkable water also would put Fluvanna on state economic development lists, encouraging businesses to move to the county. The reasoning of bring water to Zion Crossroads was to diversify the tax base with commercial payers.
The Aqua proposal would allow the company to allocated unused portions of its current withdrawal permit. The current plant at Lake Monticello would not need expansion but adding Fluvanna as a customer would help defray the costs current Aqua customers bear alone.
At the regularly schedule meeting on Oct. 2, supervisors announced the deal was no longer being discussed. Aqua Virginia issued a press release late Wednesday night that confirmed the stalemate but left hope of a possible deal in the future.
“Together, we tried to come to an economically and environmentally friendly agreement with the county that would make this plan beneficial to everyone,” said Shannon V. Becker, president of Aqua Virginia, in the statement.
“Although we couldn’t finalize the terms of an agreement at this time, if asked, we would look forward to an opportunity to provide a viable solution to this need in the future.”
From here the supervisors can vote to reject the deal and likely would if needed. Technically, the supervisors can only vote to approve the deal 30 days after the public hearing that was held on Sept. 18. The chances of that occurring are approaching zero.
Aqua Virginia’s media release can be read here.
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