Aqua Virginia


The Fluvanna Review asked the two men, whose terms of office begin Jan. 1, to share their thoughts about the decision aimed at bringing water to the county’s designated growth area of Zion Crossroads at a cost of about $18 to $20 million.

O’Brien, supervisor-elect for the Rivanna district, chose first to accentuate the positive.  “I want to commend this Board and the efforts of so many citizens who over the years have pushed to find solutions to bring smart economic development that can help rebalance our tax base and fund essential county services in the future,” he said.

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “I am disappointed with both the decision and the process taken on Wednesday night.  I ran my campaign on being more transparent, and the method in which the vote was held, while perhaps technically appropriate, would not meet my idea of transparency.  Actions like these do not build the trust of our citizens or provide a positive reflection on how our county does business.  I hope this will change when I come onboard in January.

“Additionally, there still seems to be a number of serious concerns left outstanding that have not been addressed to date with the Aqua deal.  It seemed very premature to rush this to approval…essentially handcuffing me and the other Board members in January.  I am disappointed that we have been forced into this position, especially since I made my commitment to economic development very clear throughout my campaign… I do appreciate that many supervisors, present and past, as well as citizens, have already invested a great deal of energy into solving the water question, but as a new supervisor who will be responsible for executing our plan, I would have preferred being able to perform my own due diligence and vote on the path forward.”

Sheridan, supervisor-elect for the Columbia district, shared similar thoughts.  “During my campaign, the biggest issue I talked about was that we have to build trust.  We must get trust back between our citizens and our Board.”

And what about the tax implications of the $20 million deal?  “Our county needs water,” Sheridan affirmed.  “We’re going to have to meet our budget without creating a monstrously high tax rate.  We’re going to have to sit down and spend a lot of long hours solving this problem – as a group, not as individuals.  And we must work with each other in a professional manner.”

O’Brien said “the county’s fiscal policy needs to be focused on long-term objectives that make us an attractive county to live in and to do business.   I am confident that the new Board will focus on the task at hand and develop a budget that demands efficiency, is lean, and creates a positive path to a sustainable budget and [tax] rate.   No doubt there will be some very difficult decisions.  If we do this right, and we actually commit to the long-term interest of the county, we will see the health of the county improve and our property values rise.”

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