Authority raises water-sewer rates and considers cost of new development

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May 252007

On a day in which the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) voted to approve a rate increase, members of the board also discussed who should pay for upgrades to water and sewer lines in the County. In their meeting on May 24, 2007, the board also approved a non-binding preliminary agreement with the Biscuit Run developer regarding who would pay the bill for sewer upgrades to support the largest development in the County’s history.

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The ACSA purchases water and sewer capacity from the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA), and then sells it to county residents on public utilities. If RWSA raises its rates, ACSA generally must pass these increases on to its customers.  The average single-family home consumers 4,800 gallons a month. The total bill will rise from $41.93 a month to $51.71.

At a public hearing before the vote, Glenmore resident Jim Colbaugh expressed concern that the increase was high, considering that proposed capital improvements by the RWSA are not fully reflected in the increase.

"I’m concerned with new development paying it’s fair share," Colbaugh said. "I do believe because we’re having such a big jump in cost for new capacity, some of that is for existing customers and some of it is for new customers. There ought to be a way to divvy up that expense."

The ACSA’s newest board member, Lizbeth Palmer (Samuel Miller District), asked her colleagues if there was a way to do that by using system development fees . "Can we make sure that in some way, that the capital costs of these new developments are really covered?"

The RWSA has several major projects on the books to increase capacity. They include increasing the dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir to 112 feet, upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant at Observatory Hill, and the construction of a new pipeline between the South Fork Rivanna and Ragged Mountain reservoirs. Earlier this week, RWSA Director Tom Frederick set a "straw date" of 2021 for the construction of the pipeline.

In order to satisfy the community’s 50-year water supply plan, activists like John Martin of Free Union are concerned that’s not soon enough. At Thursday’s meeting, Martin told the board that the public needs action on these projects in order to satisfy projected growth figures.

ACSA Board Member Robert Larsen (White Hall District) expressed concern about the timing of the South Fork project. "2021 is an eye-opener for me. I hadn’t heard that late [a date]. I appreciate that Mr. Martin has brought that to my attention."

This led to some discussion on the ACSA board about its role in the decision-making process about phasing and financing of major capital improvement projects.

The RWSA’s board does not include an elected member of the Board of Supervisors, but Albemarle County Executive Bob Tucker is a member. A joint meeting between the RWSA, the ACSA, the Supervisors, and City Council is planned for June to discuss capital projects, but no date has yet been set.

Palmer would like Fern to regularly update the Board of Supervisors. "I know that Gary is talking on a regular basis with the planning staff, but I think it would be a good idea to get something out in the public so that everybody can hear and see that we’re working together keeping abreast of the water supply. There’s just so much going on."

But ACSA Chair Donald Wagner (Rio District) said having Fern address the Supervisors would usurp the authority of Bob Tucker, who is a member of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority board. "If the Board of Supervisors wants to get a report from somebody, it seems to me that the Board of Supervisors should ask for that report rather than somebody go down and say they want to talk to them." Wagner has been on the board since 1984, and is a principal of Great Eastern Management, the developer of North Pointe.

But Palmer continued with her point. "It’s appropriate for the Board of Supervisors to see the head of RWSA and the head of ACSA directly and get updated information in detail." She says the ACSA was set up to manage water and sewer issues, but that the current set-up prevents information from getting to the county’s decision-makers. "They have a tendency to wall off water and sewer, and it’s going to affect the citizens of this community dramatically over the next twenty years."

But Wagner said the proper place for that is for a ACSA board members to keep their individual supervisor informed. Each member of the Board of Supervisors nominates an appointee to the ACSA. "I don’t feel it’s appropriate for the Albemarle County Service Authority to tell the Board of Supervisors what they ought to be doing about these issues."

Palmer says her main goal is to reach the public. "I want to make sure the public is informed because there are so many changes taking place."

One of the biggest changes being considered by the County government is the future of the Biscuit Run property, just south of Charlottesville in the county’s growth area. Wastewater generated at the new development would flow through the Biscuit Run Trunk Sewer, which discharges into the Moores Creek Interceptor before being treated at the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

On Thursday, the ACSA Board voted 3 to 1 in favor of approving a memorandum of understanding between the Authority and Forest Lodge LLC, Biscuit Run’s developers. Under the non-binding preliminary agreements, Forest Lodge will provide improvements to the Biscuit Run Trunk Sewer once its usage surpasses 80% of the peak flow in the pipeline today. The ACSA originally designed and built the "trunk sewer" to handle a "peak flow" of nearly two million gallons of water per day.

When Biscuit Run is fully built, it will need a projected 2,211,250 gpd.  The developers have agreed to be responsible for the financing and design of capacity upgrades. Under the terms of the agreement, the ACSA will have the power to not allow new connections if it feels the capacity is not sufficient.  In addition, the Biscuit Run Trunk Sewer feeds into what is known as the Moores Creek Interceptor.  That sewer line is also expected to require upgrades.  The costs for that upgrade are not know at this time, however a second memorandum outlines the developer’s commitment to pay for an appropriate share of those upgrade costs based on the wastewater flows from Biscuit Run.

Parker was the sole vote against approving the agreements, and was skeptical about whether the agreements were powerful enough.  “I am wondering if we should be requiring money upfront to try to help with this infrastructure costs,” she said.

Steven Blaine, attorney for Forest Lodge, tried to allay Parker’s fears.   Ã¢â‚¬Å“It’s going to be like any other type of utility or infrastructure. If it’s not there and you wish to expand or build, you have to see that it is built as a cost of doing business. The memorandum of understanding puts the developer, owners and the public on notice that the developer will have to pay its fair share, whatever that may be.”

Sean Tubbs

Democrats hold candidates’ forum at Buford Middle School

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May 242007

Candidate Jennifer McKeever (D)

The five candidates for three Democratic nominations for City Council held another in a series of candidate forums at Buford Middle School on May 22, 2007. The organizers of this forum decided to go with an informal approach, and opted to have the candidates and about thirty audience members gather around tables for an informal conversation. Topics covered a wide range of events, from affordable living choices to Council’s role of in city schools. Leah Puryear of the Charlottesville City School Board served as the moderator.

Visit our Election Watch 2007 website for detailed information on the candidates, campaign finance reports, upcoming candidate forums, and related events. View all postings related to City elections.

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Highlights from the forum related to growth and development issues:

Question: "How does each candidate feel about merging county and the city together?"

Linda Seaman: " think it’s time for us to sit down with the county and start talking again, because we have a revenue sharing agreement that we’ve only ever executed half of it, that is the half that involves the county sending some money to the city every year. The other half of that agreement indicates that we should have continued talking about consolidating various services and moving forward towards merger. But after a while I guess it was easier to write a check then it was to talk."

Jennifer McKeever: "I believe that we have merged some services including social services and libraries and we have an agreement between the fire departments and those are the types of things that I’d like to see. I think we are two distinct entities and I would like to see the culture be distinct and continue to be distinct. We are a city. They are a county."

Holly Edwards: "The county and the city have been dating for a number of years and I believe one had been waiting for the other to pop the question. I think clearly there are wonderful things about the city and wonderful things about the county, that merging services and consolidating services would make sense because of the resources. I think as we continue the conversation that we find common ground in terms of the health and safety of both communities, people by and large believe that’s important, so maybe its essential to begin that conversation  by thinking about what can we consolidate that would be beneficial to both. What I don’t want to happen is that while we’re dating we give birth to an idea that will cause a shot-gun wedding before we are ready to actually go the altar."

Satyendra Huja
: "There are a number of area where we can cooperate in in services, in facilities. We can cooperate in the area of transit, we can cooperate in the area of affordable housing. There are a number of areas in which we should be talking about, for example, policing in urban areas, there’s no reason why we can’t cooperate there. There’s a question possibility in the schools. Our school population is going down, there’s is increasing."

David Brown: "I think we should increase cooperation, but I’m skeptical of consolidation. I think there are so many examples of things we’ve chosen to prioritize that the country has not. An example would be curbside recycling. I think we all benefit and we appreciate that we can recycle at the curbside. The county doesn’t. So if we consolidate, how does that all play out?"

Question: Two audience members asked two follow-up questions which are paraphrased: City and county residents both use each parks services in the other jurisdiction. How can we make sure the county is paying their fair share? What about children who frequently move back and forth between the school systems during their educational career?

Linda Seaman: "I think there’s an opportunity coming later this month when the Y sits down with the city. The county’s already put some money behind that. Maybe that’s a door opening for us to talk about other ways that we can collaborate between the city and the county and a private entity."

Jennifer McKeever: "The parks and rec department in Charlottesville is very distinct. It has a lot of indoor facilities, a lot of programming for youth. I want the parks and rec place to be a place for our city students, and I’d love to see more programming going into it. I am more concerned with bringing our parks up to a high standard, and not as concerned with merging our facilities."

Holly Edwards: "[Charlottesville parks] have been part of the neighborhoods for so long… and I can’t think of very many programs that we have that truly embraced every child, within every pocket of the community in that way. And I like to believe that we’ll be able to continue that same kind of culture.

Satyendra Huja: "Recreational and athletic programs I think we can cooperate with the county more. Maybe of the people using our parks and rec facilities are from the county, and not from the city. If that’s the case, I want them to share some of the cost of that with the city."

David Brown: "Another difference between the city and county does come in some of our recreational programs. An example is basketball. The city parks and rec department runs the basketball program. It’s available at nominal cost to city children. On the other hand, the county doesn’t have a program for basketball, the Y runs the basketball, and it’s much more pricey. At the same time, when you look at it in terms of green space, the county parks are an asset to the city, and the city trails and parks are an asset to county residents, so to some degree a lot of this should be kind of seamless."

Question: "Right now, housing is unstable for the same children we’re trying to help. What do you think you can do in a market-driven arena to create affordable workforce housing in significant numbers?"

Linda Seaman: "I think there’s a tremendous need for workforce housing. I think the answer may be increasing density in the city, and it will most likely not be single detached housing. That said, we don’t have a great deal of land on which to build that, so we’ll have to increase density. We need to regionalize the housing issue."

Jennifer McKeever: "U.Va and the county are not necessarily good neighbors with respect to the very lowest income housing. As much as we can get out city employees to be able to the city, I’m for."

Holly Edwards: "I’m really curious as to what the affordable housing task force has decided because I really think those decisions need to come from the outside in. We could explore how the services that we can provide families can empower them to be in a place where they can buy a house. Helping people with their credit, helping people learn how to save their money."

Satyendra Huja: "We just built about thirty homes in the 10th and Page neighborhood. 10 of those were sold on the open market, and the profit from those ten plus some funds from the city and county were put into the other 20 houses to make affordable houses. It cost about $40,000 per unit to make affordable housing. So, I don’t know if it’s the best uses of money, but it’s one way of dealing with it."

David Brown: "We’re losing the stock of affordable rental housing in the city, and that’s one thing we need to replenish. We will get moving on creating a joint U.Va-City-County task force. Hopefully the county will embrace this idea, but the reality is that the county so far does not provide any low-income housing."

HIGHLIGHTS  (times correspond with audio in the above podcast)

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 02:31 – Question: "How do you feel about merging county and the city together?"
  • 8:51 – Two audience members asked two follow-up questions which are paraphrased: City and county residents both use each parks services in the other jurisdiction. How can we make sure the county is paying their fair share? What about children who frequently move back and forth between the school systems during their educational career?
  • 23:30 – Question about why the city is holding payments to the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority.
    Only Mayor Brown directly answered the question.
  • 28:00 – Question: "I’m concerned as an administrator in the criminal justice field about the level of violence in our school systems. What are the candidates’ thoughts on this subject? Would you support single-sex education or school uniforms as possible solutions?"
  • 47:00 – Question: "What do you see as the role of Council in addressing alcoholism and drug abuse in the city’s school system?"
  • 58:50 – Question: "What role as city councilors would you have in recruiting and retaining highly-qualified and effective teachers who can help all children learn?"
  • 1:07:40 – Question: "Right now, housing is unstable for the same children we’re trying to help. What do you think you can do in a market-driven arena to create affordable workforce housing in significant numbers?"

Sean Tubbs

Developers, environmentalists, and government officials journey to Chapel Hill

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May 232007

By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow


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How far will the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) go to ensure good ideas get on the table for new developments in Albemarle County? Today they went to Chapel Hill, NC.  PEC board member Tony Vanderwarker filled a Cessna Citation III jet with a Charlottesville-Albemarle delegation eager to learn about neighborhood model developments in Chapel Hill that successfully integrate public transit.  The objective was to bring home good ideas for Biscuit Run and other area developments.

The passengers included Mr. Vanderwarker, Biscuit Run developer Hunter Craig, Albemarle County Supervisors Lindsay Dorrier and Sally Thomas, City Planning Commissioner Michael Osteen, PEC Field Officer Jeff Werner, and Susan Payne with Payne Ross (the public relations firm representing Biscuit Run).  Charlottesville Tomorrow was invited to report on the trip (In the interests of full disclosure, Mr. Vanderwarker is also on the Board of Directors of Charlottesville Tomorrow). 

Located two miles outside of Chapel Hill, the Meadowmont neighborhood has a lot of the features on Albemarle County’s wish list for new developments.  Street trees, bus stops, sidewalks, town centers, mixed uses, and a variety of housing types.  A former dairy farm, Meadowmont has about 1,050 homes on 435 acres with 200,000 sq.ft. of commercial/office space.  It took ten years to get approved and was built between 2000 and 2007.  By comparison, Biscuit Run is proposed to have 3,100 homes on 828 acres with 150,000 sq.ft. of commercial/office space.

(L to R) Lindsay Dorrier, Sally Thomas, Hunter Craig, Tony Vanderwarker, Jeff Werner (hand visible with map), and Michael Osteen

During the 30 minute flight from Charlottesville, Michael Osteen commented on his priorities.  “Transportation is one thing that needs to be solved on a regional basis.  We need the County, UVA, and the City all on the same page.”

City Planning Commissioners like Osteen have recently received a lot of feedback about transportation, particularly since Biscuit Run took the public stage.  An architect who also serves on the City’s Board of Architectural Review, he admits transportation wasn’t originally at the top of his policy agenda.  That changed when Osteen was recently appointed to the City’s Street Car Task Force.  Now he is giving a lot more thought to how the University and downtown Charlottesville are connected.

Meeting the group at the Raleigh-Durham airport was Meadowmont resident and realtor Phil Patterson.  Patterson, a friend of Susan and L.F. Payne from when he worked with the couple developing Wintergreen, spent sixteen years in Charlottesville and was quite adept at comparing the various aspects of the community to things familiar to the group back home in Virginia.  Other experts there to offer advice included former Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary Waldorf (1995-2001) and resident Gail Ross and her dog Madison.

On the drive from the airport to Meadowmont, Tony Vanderwarker outlined his group’s interest in working with Hunter Craig to achieve quality growth in Albemarle.  “In recent years, [the PEC has] been becoming aware that to fulfill the county’s comprehensive plans, growth areas have to be thoughtfully planned out in order to absorb population that would otherwise go to the rural areas.”  With respect to the Biscuit Run development, Vanderwarker said, “Hunter engaged us a couple months ago and asked for our point of view and perspective. We have been talking ever since.”

The first stop on the tour was a retirement community known as The Cedars integrated into Meadowmont.  Similar to Charlottesville’s Westminster Canterbury, it has a front yard more like the lawn at UVA adjoining a town center with a Harris Teeter within walking distance.  This was not Hunter Craig’s first visit to The Cedars and he says a similar facility will likely be a design element in Biscuit Run.

“This is a market we are going to target,” said Craig.  “Looking at the 55+ age group, they want efficient and attractive transit.”  The Cedars has shuttle buses which take residents to the town center and Chapel Hill.  As part of the Biscuit Run development, Craig has proffered up to $1 million in cash towards public transit operations.  Craig said he has already spoken to UVA’s Leonard Sandridge about making use of the University bus stops for shuttles coming out of Biscuit Run.  Until the University participates in an integrated transit system, Craig wants the decision makers in Albemarle to know he is serious about helping residents choose to leave their cars at home.  “This trip is about a regional discussion on transportation, and is not just about Biscuit Run,” said Craig.

The group walks past several of the 30 affordable homes designed for Meadowmont.

While public transit was a focus of the visit to Meadowmont, the residents the group met said they did not actually use the bus system themselves very often, if at all.  Interestingly, the bus routes initially looped through the interior of the development until neighbors complained about the noise.  The transit service was pushed out and the bus stops moved to the spine roads.  Residents now have a 4-5 block walk to the nearest stop.  Chapel Hill Transit has been fare free since 2002 and the University of North Carolina contributes heavily to its operation.  Working in Chapel Hill’s favor is the fact it already has a unified town-university transit system.  UNC is also famous for having very little parking and a master plan that seeks to eliminate even more parking in favor of infill development accessed by transit. 

The fact that the Charlottesville Transit System (CTS) receives federal funding has been cited as an obstacle to integration with the University of Virginia.  Federal funds come with restrictions on the use of transit equipment.  Hunter Craig said our community should be able to overcome that challenge.  “I think we need to work together and get the laws changed if necessary,” said Craig.  The University of Virginia’s Director of Parking and Transportation, Rebecca White, says, “That would be fabulous.”  White was not on this trip, but reports a delegation from UVA is also heading to UNC on June 14th to talk with their colleagues about sustainability.  “We do not receive federal funds and my understanding is equipment purchased with federal money cannot be used for charter services,” said White. 

White said there are other universities that have worked around this problem by carving out fleets not supported by federal dollars.  UVA needs to have buses for parking lot shuttles, graduation, sporting events, and field trips.  According to White, last year CTS said it would no longer be able to allow its fleet to be used for UVA’s graduation because of the City’s interpretation of federal law.

Meadowmont resident Gail Ross and her dog Madison with Albemarle County Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier.

Her curiosity piqued, resident Gail Ross observed the Charlottesville delegation walking through the Meadowmont Town Center and she introduced herself and her dog Madison to the group.  “I walk to Harris Teeter.  I walk to the wellness center,” said Ross.  “I live here because of the convenience of this lifestyle.”  Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier asked how she got her groceries from the store to her apartment.  Ross responded, “I don’t get a lot of groceries on each trip because I go by there all the time.” 

Rosemary Waldorf was mayor of Chapel Hill when the Meadowmont development was approved.  “This is a community that doesn’t take change easily,” said Waldorf.  “People went berserk when Meadowmont was submitted.”  Supervisor Sally Thomas asked how well the community worked now that it was fully built out.  “I have lived here three years, and it functions unbelievably well as a community,” said Waldorf.  “People who chose to live here like this lifestyle.  People try and support the retail here too.”

A question raised about Biscuit Run is whether there is enough commercial and retail use being included in the development.  As a largely residential development in the current plans, Biscuit Run is anticipated to have a negative fiscal impact on Albemarle County.  More non-residential activity leads to increased tax revenues, fewer students in public schools, and more internal vehicle trips “captured” within the town center development.  “I am concerned Biscuit Run will be the bedroom community to the retail on 5th street,” said Thomas.  The 5th Street-Avon Center project, also under review in Albemarle, will add a large home improvement store and grocery store just North of Interstate 64.

It appeared each member of the delegation saw something in Meadowmont that they liked and hoped could be brought to new developments back home.  Thomas said the best thing she saw all day was the full bike rack at the Rashkis Elementary School.  Students were taking advantage of the safe streets and trails to get to their neighborhood school.  Hunter Craig like the “rolled curbs” and driveways with grass median strips in the residential area.  He asked each Supervisor to consider the benefits of this curb system that allowed driveways to be placed anywhere along the roadway, which is built first, without the need for a curb cut later.  “I hate when we have to put in a driveway and a new curb with concrete that doesn’t match.”

Back in Charlottesville, the PEC’s Jeff Werner and Hunter Craig agreed that co-operation in Charlottesville-Albemarle can put our community ahead of Meadowmont and Chapel Hill.  “In many ways we are ahead of where they are.  There are some design elements we can take away for use in Biscuit Run,” said Craig.  “Our transit will be better.  We will have more bike lanes.”  Werner agreed on the potential to come out ahead of Meadowmont, but said, “We can’t answer all the questions by next Tuesday.”  Biscuit Run has its next public hearing before the Albemarle County Planning Commission on May 29th.

CRN: U.Va Astronomer Ed Murphy

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May 232007

U.Va Astronomer Ed Murphy joins Coy Barefoot on WINA’s Charlottesville–Right Now for an update on space news. In this installment, the problem of space junk, a June 4th fly-by of the International Space Station, and famous meteor impacts.

Show #24: Ben Grey

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May 222007

Ben GreyOne of the best things about doing this show is the set of connections it allows us to make with educators who are bringing technology into their classrooms in meaningful, authentic, and powerful ways. This week, we’re lucky to talk with Ben Grey, a 5th-grade teacher in Illinois. For the past two years, Ben’s students have produced the News from the Greypevine podcast.

In this show, the GenTech boys (sans Michael) talk with Ben about his experiences facilitating the podcast, the tools and process he uses, and the lessons he’s learned. He also gives some sage advice for teachers who want to get started in podcasting, but aren’t sure where to go.

As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions – please drop us a line or leave a comment below.

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CRN: Republican Shaun Kenney on Virginia politics

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May 222007

Shaun Kenney is the director of communications for the Republican Party of Virginia, and a frequent guest on WINA’s Charlottesville–Right Now with Coy Barefoot. This week the talk begins with a discussion of King’s Dominion before getting right into the thick of the things. President Bush recently came to Virginia and raised $630,000 for Republican candidates in the Commonwealth. On June 2nd, the former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson will be the keynote speaker for the Virginia GOP’s annual gala. Thompson is an undeclared candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Shaun and Coy also talk about the state of political blogging in Virginia and negative campaigns in local races.

CRN: Bob Gibson on the possibility of Charlottesville-Albemarle consolidation

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May 222007

Bob Gibson of the Charlottesville Daily Progress stops by WINA’s studios on Rose Hill Drive every Monday to talk with Coy Barefoot about local politics. Today’s topic concentrates on the possibility of a merger between Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Bob recently wrote an article which suggested more study of the idea is needed.

CRN: Historian and author Rick Britton

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May 222007

Local author and historian Rick Britton joins Coy Barefoot on WINA’s Charlottesville–Right Now with another quiz. Rick is the editor of the Magazine of Albemarle County History. This year’s lead article is about 4.500 captured prisoners of war who were quartered in Charlottesville during the Revolutionary War. Rick wanted listeners to identify one of two place names in the area that come from the names of men who were kept here.

This Week on THE DROP – 5/21/07

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May 212007

Rosie Thomas

Fire Island, A.K. – The Long Winters
Pass It On – Ugly Duckling
Signal Fire – Snow Patrol
Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above – CSS
Dashboard – Modest Mouse
Nothing’s Meant to Last – Brookville
You’re Not Alone – Saosin
Much Farther to Go – Rosie Thomas
O Valencia! – The Decemberists
The Attic – Fair
So Much Trouble – Matt Pond PA
Take a Chance – The Magic Numbers
Sowing Season (Yeah) – Brand New

Water authority discusses budget and phasing of infrastructure upgrades

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May 212007

20070521rwsaOn May 21, 2007, the Board of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority (RWSA) held their monthly meeting and reviewed several items related to the FY 2008 budget and the community’s 50-year water supply plan.  RWSA has two customers, the Albemarle County Service Authority and the City of Charlottesville.


During the budget discussions, staff informed the Board that Dominion Virginia Power had passed along a rate increase of 12.9% for each of the next three years in its contract with RWSA.  Staff recommended against making adjustments in the proposed FY 2008 budget and that the Board keep a close eye on these expenses in the next fiscal year.  The operations impacted by the rate increase today have annual utility expenditures budgeted for $1.1 million.  The rate increase would add about $145,000 in additional costs during FY 2008.  The budget was approved unanimously.


The Board heard recommendations from staff on the sequencing of infrastructure upgrades related to the 50-year water supply plan.  The plan calls for construction of a new larger dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, upgraded treatment facilities at Observatory Hill, the construction of a pipeline between Ragged Mountain and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, and the abandonment of a 100 year old pipeline running from Sugar Hollow to Ragged Mountain (this pipeline fills Ragged Mountain, but prevents some water from reaching the Moormans River).

The Board began with a report on the ongoing discussions between the authority and The Nature Conservancy about how in-stream flows could be improved below the Sugar Hollow Dam (Moormans River) and the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.

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RWSA Executive Director, Tom Frederick, said, "We’ve got an opportunity to be number one, perhaps in the world in terms of coming up with a strategy for how to utilize a stream for both human needs and for nature’s needs."  The goal is to have in-stream flows mimic their natural state (what existed before the reservoirs were built) while balancing the community’s water supply needs, particularly during times of drought. According to the staff report, RWSA intends to leverage the expertise and ideas from The Nature Conservancy to "rewrite ‘the book’ on how releases from reservoirs throughout Virginia and the nation are regulated in the future."  The Board authorized Mr. Frederick to move forward with the stream flow proposals.

Next, the Board was introduced to the specifics of the phasing proposal for the $130 million 50-year water supply plan.  The key recommendation is to start by building the new 112′ Ragged Mountain Dam all at once (below the existing dam and 45′ higher).  Building the dam in multiple phases would generate $3 million in additional costs.

The proposal given to the Board for consideration was as follows:

  • By 2011, build the new dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir all at once ($37 million)
  • By 2015, upgrade water treatment facilities at Observatory
  • By 2021, build a new pipeline between Ragged Mountain and the
    South Fork reservoirs ($52 million)

The RWSA Board asked Mr. Frederick to schedule a public hearing during Summer 2007 so that they could finalize a phasing and financing plan at their August 2007 meeting.

Brian Wheeler

CRN: John Whitehead on Jerry Falwell, the Beatles

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May 212007

John Whitehead is the Founder and Executive Director of the Rutherford Institute. In this monthly visit with Coy Barefoot, Whitehead discusses the passing of Jerry Falwell, whom he knew well and worked with; the 40th anniversary of the Beatle’s classic Sergeant Pepper’s album; the ripping off of taxpayers in the Iraq war; and more.

U.Va Law: Spring 2007 Law School Newscast

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May 202007

Narrated by Professor George Cohen and Public Service Center Director Molly Bishop, the Newscast highlights Law School news and events from the spring 2007 semester.