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Madison supervisors oppose Greene County leaving water & sewer service authority

Madison supervisors oppose Greene County leaving water & sewer service authority

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The Rapidan Service Authority water treatment plant along U.S. Route 29 south in Greene County.

A Virginia State Senate Bill regarding the Rapidan Service Authority was the topic of an emergency called meeting Sunday of the Madison County Board of Supervisors.

The local governing body met via video conference to discuss the county’s position on Senate Bill 1355. The bill would allow any member locality of RSA, a water and sewer provider, to withdraw from the authority regardless of any outstanding bonds.

The locality would need to meet certain requirements in order to do so including obtaining unanimous consent of all holders of any outstanding bonds unless all such bonds have been paid or cashed or United States government obligations have been deposited for payment. Any written obligation to RSA incurred by the locality while a member of the authority would remain and the withdrawing locality would assume ownership and management of any RSA asset located within its limits and associated debt.

State Sen. Emmett Hanger, Jr., R-Mount Solon, introduced the bill. He represents the 24th District that includes Madison and Greene. RSA member Orange County is in the 17th District.

The introduction of the bill comes months after Greene County supervisors passed a resolution asking to withdraw from the authority. Orange and Madison counties declined.

On Friday, Madison County received a proposed joint position statement stating that “after careful consideration, all three jurisdictions recognize their mutual interests in a service realignment that may be best accomplished with the passage of SB1355.” The position requested an amendment to the bill that would require the withdrawing locality to “complete a review and inventory of the assets located within its boundaries that it intends to own and manage and transmit that inventory along with a plan of operation including continuity of service for all customers impacted by the withdrawal including those situated in other localities. Any shared assets used for maintenance and operation of the combined utility system shall be proportionally distributed to the member jurisdictions, or the Authority, as is applicable, based on number of customers served.”

Madison County Supervisors disagreed and opted to not sign the joint position statement. A motion made by supervisor Carty Yowell to that affect was seconded by supervisor Charlotte Hoffman and approved 5-0. Included in the motion was an authorization for county attorney Sean Gregg to represent the county during the General Assembly’s session on Monday during which the bill will be discussed.

Madison Board of supervisors chairman Clay Jackson sent a letter to chairmen James Crozier of Orange and Bill Martin of Greene notifying them of the decision. Jackson said the county regrets the recent difficulties that have reached the current level of contentiousness and is willing to meet with representatives of Orange and Greene to resolve these matters among the counties. If unsuccessful, Jackson said Madison County would be willing to meet with a mediator to help the three counties resolve the issues in a way that is satisfactory to RSA bondholders, water and sewer users and ratepayers and the three counties.

“Madison County looks forward to meeting together to resolve these issues,” he wrote.

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