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After Study Results, Fluvanna Reviews Water Options - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

After Study Results, Fluvanna Reviews Water Options

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A new return on investment study is shedding light on Fluvanna County's water options.

The Board of Supervisors had delayed its release at its last meeting, but Thursday a supervisor released it through social media.

The study compares the Aqua Virginia proposal to a partnership with the Department of Corrections. It's a starting point for supervisors to decide what's best for the county.

A new study from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission shows the proposal from Aqua Virginia would generate more economic growth for the Zion Crossroads area of Fluvanna over 20 years than a partnership with the Department of Corrections.

"What these results are showing was basically that there would be certainly benefits to having infrastructure improvements but there's also other implications and considerations to take in mind," said Will Cockrell, a TJPDC planner.

The Aqua Virginia proposal would be more expensive for the county, but it would provide more water.

"If you look at the [return on investment], you will see that in the seventh year two things happen: the DOC kind of runs out of water. It has nothing to show and that brings the question, where are you going to get the next layer of water?" said Supervisor Joe Chesser, who represents the Rivanna District.

Chesser says the benefits of the Aqua Virginia deal outweigh the costs.

"We'll have to invest 4 cents additional on our tax, maybe the first year, maybe the second year. But by the seventh year, we start seeing a return and by the 20th year - the 20th year, which we continue to complain about - we'll have a potential of reducing our tax rate by 7 cents," Chesser said.

But Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch, who represents the Palmyra District, says six years is too long to wait to break even.

"Then you're just playing catch-up for the next 13," Ullenbruch said.

He says partnering with the Department of Corrections is the better start to bringing water to Zion Crossroads.

Then, that could be combined with other options, such as tapping into groundwater or partnering with Louisa County for a pipeline from the James River.

"The Aqua agreement is extreme; it's more than we'll ever need. The DOC option I like because it gets us started," Ullenbruch said.

Supervisors disagree over whether now is the time to act.

"As we sit right now we don't have enough information to make that huge decision for this county," Ullenbruch said.

"This county I believe has been sitting on our hands and they need to take some major steps here and they need to be committed to economic development. In my opinion this is a start," Chesser said.

Supervisors say the public hearing on the Aqua Virginia proposal on August 7 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date. But they will meet at 2 p.m. that day and encourage people to come and learn more about this issue.

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