The Board of Directors for the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will expand to 7 members at some point later this year. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on April 1, 2009 to follow the

Charlottesville City Council’s lead in amending the RWSA’s Articles of Incorporation

to add one Supervisor and one Councilor to the Board. The Board also approved the addition of the same two elected officials to the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s Board of Directors.


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County Attorney Larry Davis said the Board’s version of the resolution clears up a concern, one also raised by former City Councilor Kevin Lynch, that the RWSA Board was not in compliance with state code because the terms of the ex officio members were not fully specified.

No one spoke at the public hearing, but Supervisors had plenty to say about the change. Supervisor

Sally Thomas

(Samuel Miller) said she saw no reason why this change was necessary.

“It is going to add slightly to the expense just in terms of all the packets that have to be put together and the time that one of us will be spending,” Thomas said. “When I look at [RWSA] and what’s good and what’s bad about it, what’s bad about it is that for many years it allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate. And what’s good about this addition of a City Councilor to that body is that perhaps the City Councilor will get an education regarding the infrastructure  in a way that they haven’t through their staff.”

However, Thomas said the addition could mean an even greater reluctance on the part of the City to spend money on capital projects such as the water supply plan.

Supervisor

Dennis Rooker

(Jack Jouett) said he thought the County’s model of using a separate government entity to handle water and sewer service is superior than the City’s reliance on staff.

“We have people appointed to that Board who view it as the primary thing that they’re doing in community service,” Rooker said. “It’s not an after-thought, it’s not another meeting they have to attend.” Rooker said the ACSA is better poised to look after the long-term interests of the water and sewer system.  He had the concern that the RWSA Board will become more politicized, rather than operating like a business. However, he said he would support the addition of the elected officials to the Board.

Supervisor

Ann Mallek

(White Hall) said she initially thought the idea was a good one, but she was skeptical of the benefits.

“I hope there are not some consequences out of this that make us regret it because of extra turmoil and less progress,” Mallek said.

Supervisors

David Slutzky

(Rio) and

Lindsay Dorrier

(Scottsville) were enthusiastic supporters of the idea.

“With the challenge of funding infrastructure, there are benefits to having elected officials held accountable,” Slutzky said.

Supervisor Dorrier said that elected officials would bring more perspective to the Board. For instance, he said he is glad that elected officials serve on the County’s Capital Improvement Program Oversight Committee.

The elected officials will be chosen by the City and the County at a later date. Davis said the new positions will become official once the new Articles of Incorporation are filed and accepted by the State Corporation Commission.

Sean Tubbs

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