City to Discuss Financing King William Water
Posted: Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
Members of The Alliance to Save the Mattaponi will present more findings about a water sharing contract between Newport News and Williamsburg to the Williamsburg City Council on Thursday.
As the debate over the King William Reservoir continues Kelly Place and his colleague Dr. Don Philips will continue their arguments against damming Cohoke Creek in King William County to create the reservoir.
The City Council’s focus tomorrow will be a public meeting to talk about financing a long-term water supply with Newport News. To deal with projected growth, city officials have struck a draft agreement with the City of Newport News for up to two million gallons of water per day, as water needs arise.
The city proposes taking $2.5 million from savings and covering the remaining $10 million with a 10- or 15-year bond.
With new water-saving appliances and shower heads available the alliance believes the water use projections are too high.
Place and Philips agree that the reservoir isn’t necessary because the projected future water use figures are wrong. They are also concerned that the water sharing contract between Newport News and Williamsburg, that’s going to be voted on by city council Thursday, needs more amending.
“We’re concerned with stuff in the contract that wouldn’t benefit Williamsburg,” says Place.
One item that bothers Philips is the vague language surrounding maintenance and operating costs for a water supply facility. Philips is unsure how the sharing cities will pay for these services.
The alliance members plan to present their concerns with how the project is funded. According to Place, revenue for this project would come from water rate increases and new service hookups, which come from “new” home construction kickbacks.
“We’re in a down housing market. They would have to raise water rates to make up for revenue,” says Place. Increases in water rates mean more money out of Williamsburg residents’ pockets.
The reservoir has been a topic of discussion for nearly 20 years, and the alliance says much has changed. A project of this scope requires careful planning, yet the alliance believes the two cities should move on to an alternative source, if one is necessary at all.