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Albemarle-Approved Water Improvement Funding Plan Goes Before Co - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle-Approved Water Improvement Funding Plan Goes Before Council

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -

The Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) has approved a multi-million-dollar plan to fund several water treatment improvements. Now the final say on the joint agreement is up to Charlottesville City Council - and not all councilors are in favor of passing it.

The agreement covers six construction projects, costing around $80 million in total. Only one of those projects hasn't been completed. That's the relocation - and expansion - of a water pump near Riverview Park.

The question now is what portion the county will pay and what portion the city will pay to complete it. Moving the pump station, and increasing its capacity, will cost around $33 million.

The ACSA says this agreement is the fairest way to share that cost.

"It's a user pays kind of approach. We actually will measure the sewer flows, come up with a percentage allocation between the city and the Service Authority, and then apply that to the cost in every one of the budgets,” said Gary O’Connell, ACSA executive director.

O'Connell says there's also an environmental perk built in that would encourage both localities to restrict stormwater entering the system.

"There's an incentive in the formula to try and encourage both parties to try to get that removed to tighten up the system,” said O’Connell.

But City Councilor Bob Fenwick doesn't see it as a perk. He says Charlottesville’s infrastructure is old and allows more stormwater in and that the city would end up having to pay for repairs, which would be costly.

"We'll be doing more infrastructure maintenance than the county, and who pays for that? Because some of the county stuff comes through the city. Woolen Mills for example,” said Fenwick.

He also says the agreement is difficult to understand, which may lead to problems down the road.

"If it isn't written in plain English, then you're asking for litigation,” said Fenwick.

O'Connell says it's a complicated subject, but after three years of discussion, he believes the agreement is fair.

"We're hopeful that enough members of City Council will see the agreement's a good agreement, that it's fair, that it's user pays, that it's fact-based, that that will move it forward, but we'll just have to wait till April 7,” said Fenwick.

Councilors will meet to make a final decision on the agreement April 7.

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