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After hearing the final water/sewer pipeline to Zion Crossroads return-on-investment report, Supervisors asked County Administrator Steve Nichols to shoot off a letter to Louisa County officials.

The gist of the June 7 letter? Let’s talk water.

At the June 6 Board of Supervisor meeting, Stephen Williams gave the final version of the ROI report. Just as in the preliminary version presented in April, the report showed Fluvanna is losing money each year there is no water at Zion Crossroads. The only difference in the final version is the numbers changed.

The final report used the just under 60 cent per $100 of assessed value residential FY2013 tax rate as a basis for the figures as opposed to the old rate used in the preliminary report.

If no waterline is built, in five years Fluvanna would lose a little over $2.5 million. That figure assumed revenues of $7.4 million and a cost of county services to the area at $10 million.

Even with slow growth to the area, in five years Fluvanna would reap $91,824 in revenue, the report states.

Looking 10 years out, with no waterline Fluvanna would lose $4.79 million but would get $2 million with if the area only grew slowly, according to the study.

The board paid the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission to conduct the study.

The report summary states: “The purpose of TJPDC’s Return on Investment (ROI) study is to provide insight to local decision-makers to determine if the proposed water and sewer line would be cost effective for the county.” Further in the report is the sentence: “The purpose of this ROI study is to provide unbiased information to decision makers.”

Just a few years ago, Fluvanna was on the verge of a partnership with Louisa to make it happen, but a groundswell of opposition to the agreement, the decision to take out bonds to build the new high school and the economic collapse stopped it dead in its tracks.

One look at the development at Zion Crossroads is telling: it’s all on the Louisa side of I-64. Common wisdom is that without water on the Fluvanna side, it will remain that way.

Board Chairman Shaun Kenney said Aqua Virginia delivered an unsolicited letter to the board outlining a proposed water/sewer line from its existing facility at Lake Monticello up to the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women on Rte. 250 and up to Zion Crossroads.

According to the TJPDC, Aqua Virginia, who operates the Lake Monticello system, has surplus water.

“In the proposed contract, the county would own and operate the water system, with the authority to set fees and rates,” the report states. “Fluvanna County would pay Aqua Virginia for the water and the maintenance of the system.”

That cost would be $950,000 per year, the report states. That covers the cost of the first 127,000 gallons per day in each year. If the area (excluding the prison) needed more, Aqua Virginia would charge the county an additional $2.95 per 1,000 gallons.

The payments include the capital costs of building the waterline. The report states, “The county would not incur additional expenses for this project, beyond what is described.”

Aqua Virginia would install and own the sewer line and Fluvanna would be responsible for a yearly payment of $94,900 which entitles the county to up to 4,000 gallons per day of flow.

During public comments, Dennis Holder said the water line numbers include the assumption that the line will be large enough to hook into Louisa and that Louisa will pay the fee for the service.

“If you don’t get it, what happens to the income picture?” Holder said.

He also pointed out that the study area is bigger than the area served by the water line, which could inflate the cost figure stated of providing county services to the area.

In the letter to Louisa, Nichols states that Fluvanna County would like to move forward with Louisa County to open formal discussions with the Louisa County Water Authority regarding a “bulk water purchase agreement.” An initial agreement could include a $3 million connection fee for access to 200,000 GPD. The bulk rate will be $3.00 per thousand GPD.

Fluvanna would also like to re-establish formal dialogue through the JRWA as soon as possible, under certain terms and conditions, including advance discussions on approach and potential JRWA  personnel changes.

The TJPD water study and the letter to Louisa can be found on the county website: www.co.fluvanna.va.us.

Sidebar:

Informational meeting

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will hold a public information meeting on Aqua Virginia’s proposal to bring water to Zion Crossroads.

The meeting will be held June 28 at 2 and at 7 p.m. at the new high school cafeteria.