Farmers and other people living in Albemarle County who were opposed to a storm water fee are celebrating Wednesday night.
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted 'no' to the plan, for now, on Wednesday, April 11.
Supervisors were not particularly supportive of the proposal that was presented to them for a stormwater utility in the county. In fact, they decided to just take money from the general fund, which is what has been done in years past.
This stormwater fee was initially proposed to fund projects that would clean up streams and water sources in the area. Research shows that the county has a series of water issues.
The proposal would’ve taxed everyone in the county based on their impervious area of property. Many rural community members were unhappy with what they call the “rain tax” since it would’ve tended to penalize them more.
"I'm pretty much happy with the fact that they're at least looking at - the situation will be moved out of the stormwater fee which is usually on the people, which is tyranny, and that it would go to something that's more representative, voting for by the people, instead of a bureaucracy that just mandates and then we don't have a say in it," says Greg Quinn, who lives in the Whitehall district.
On Wednesday, the board compromised by saying funding needs to eventually be allocated for these water issues, but for now the board will continue to use the general fund.
Board members still want to figure out a way to address the sediment issues in the county's waterways because it affects both tourism and the environment.
"And the board has affirmed that their funding for stormwater improvements, for water quality improvements, is incredibly important and they no longer want it to be shoved to the bottom of the list," says Ann Mallek, an Albemarle County supervisor. "So we've given direction to our county executive that it needs to be created and treated in the budget as a more important element, also that they want the continued funding of the program to be done through the general fund."
Supervisors will reconvene on this topic in December.