By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
In 2008, Greene County developed a policy to sell Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU’s) for water and sewer connections. At the time, concerns were raised regarding the allowance of the speculative purchase of EDU’s, prior to the actual need. As the cost of EDU’s increased (currently $10,000 for water and $10,000 for sewer) the timing of the EDU’s purchase has become an issue, especially for smaller builders.
At the only December meeting for the Greene Supervisors, Planning Director, Bart Svoboda, explained, numerous conversations with builders that have highlighted the cash flow problem this policy creates. So an alternative policy of charging for the EDU’s as a requirement for issuing a Certificate of Occupancy was proposed for Board consideration. However, the contractor runs the risk of EDU’s not being available if he waits until the project is ready to be occupied.
Chairperson Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) asked if a builder could opt to buy the EDU’s the way they have up until now? Svoboda answered that yes, the contractor effectively would have the option as to when to buy the EDU. He could buy the EDU like the current policy provides and, therefore, he is sure he has the water and sewer connection before the project is started. Or he could wait until the project is ready for occupancy and then purchase the EDU with no guaranty that water and sewer will be available.
Supervisor Jim Frydl (Midway) commented that the risk of water and sewer not being available is small.
The argument for delaying payment is that paying for the EDU closer to when the property can be occupied allows for the revenue stream of the business/residence to begin and provide the funds to pay for the EDU connections.
Some other Virginia localities do not allow the purchase of EDU’s until the building permit is issued for a specific parcel. Such a policy significantly impacts the ability to “speculatively” purchase EDU’s at a a lower rate than the cost of such EDU’s at redemption. This potential reform was not discussed on Tuesday.
At this point County Administrator, John Barkley, clarified that any changes to the EDU policy must first be approved by Greene’s Supervisors and then it can be approved by RSA.
Supervisor Bill Martin commented that the current reservoir project will relieve the limitation of water in Greene County. At that point Chairperson Michelle Flynn proposed that the option to pay when connected be approved and that motion was unanimously approved.
The last action taken at the final 2017 meeting was to thank Frydl who completed his second term. Frydl was defeated in his bid for a third term by Marie Durrer, former Clerk of the Circuit Court in Greene County. Durrer will be sworn in in January.
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. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org