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PE Response To Town Is Tabled

PRINCE EDWARD – How to respond to a Town of Farmville water proposal has been running through the minds of Supervisors-even precipitating a tie vote (and defeat) on a draft at an April 26 work session.

The issue resurfaced briefly Tuesday night and, upon further review…

“If the board will concur,” Board Chairman William “Buckie” Fore offered, “I'll hold it and redraft it and go again.”

With little discussion and a motion by Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck, the board unanimously agreed to table the matter.

County supervisors had previously debated a possible response to Town overtures over water, but a written draft supported by Fore was defeated on a 4-4 vote at an April 26 work session.

On Tuesday, Fore assessed that they do have to respond to the Town, “but I think my letter needs to be tempered somewhat.”

The board, and the County as a whole, is nearing a possible watershed moment on a possible water project. Supervisors are weighing plans for a project that would tap into the Sandy River Reservoir and serve an area south of Town as well as stretching east to Crewe and Burkeville. The County was presented an unsolicited proposal (permitted under the Public Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002) and has been looking deeper into the specifics of a potential water project as outlined in an interim agreement with Crowder Construction. County officials held a series of community meetings (concluding with Farmville Monday night) and have scheduled a public hearing on a contract with Crowder tonight (Thursday).

With the time winding down on a possible decision to move forward on the estimated $25 million project or not, Farmville's Town Council had offered the County an agreement that includes a joint pipeline project from the Sandy River Reservoir to the Town's water treatment plant “at such time as the need exists.” The resolution approved by Council April 22, called for the creation of a water resource committee with two non-elected non-government employed citizens of the Town and two from the County to advise parties on the best and most cost efficient methods of servicing the regions' water needs.”

The resolution offered the County “an agreement, to be drafted by the parties, to allow for both parties to share in the cost of accessing the Sandy (River) Reservoir and connecting same to the Town's existing water treatment system, at such time as the need exists as defined by specific parameters to be determined by the (four-person) committee.”

The offering also included a ten-year extension of guaranteed access to the Town's water system beyond 2018.

Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones had suggested in the April 26 meeting that they go through their public hearings, and then maybe respond.

The response, defeated with the tie vote, cited that the board “respectfully declines to accept the various offers made in the resolution, except the offer to extend the current water and sewer agreement.”

It also cited that the Town's resolution is “contradictory,” noting that it proposed a citizens committee to study the best and most cost-effective solution and that the two parties should enter into an agreement “concerning only one option-the raw water option that provides no distribution system outside the Town of Farmville. This proves the Town is only willing to look at one alternative. Additionally, the implication is there is no immediate need to do anything at this time.”