Contract Signed Which May End Water, Sewer Debate

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FALCONER — For the past 18 months, a compromise regarding water and sewer services between the city of Jamestown and town of Ellicott has proved elusive. As of Thursday, Town Supervisor Patrick McLaughlin has signed a contract that he thinks will benefit both parties involved.

The contract must be further approved and recommended by the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities for city council approval to proceed, and the council will then decide whether to approve the contract at a future meeting.

If the contract is approved, the water rates for Ellicott residents will rise to 200 percent of what Jamestown residents pay. The BPU will take care of all water and sewer maintenance, meaning Ellicott officials will no longer have to worry about unexpected payments.

“The city will now maintain everything,” McLaughlin said. “We are really getting something in return.”

Individual water districts in Ellicott would no longer have to worry about repairs for water lines, flushing hydrants and reading meters, and the contract will provide more revenue for the BPU to provide services. Ellicott would have to provide road cutting if the BPU needed it done to maintain sewers or water lines.

Part of the agreement also removes revenue sharing of commerical properties on Fluvanna Avenue with the city, and as such, water will not be provided by the city to Fluvanna Avenue properties through a formerly proposed intermunicipal grant; Fluvanna Avenue properties will continue to rely on well water. Revenue sharing will remain on North Main Street.

“There was a lot of back and forth between both parties,” McLaughlin said. “I think it’s a fair contract. I think it’s a contract both the city and the town can agree with.”

If the contract does get approved in Jamestown, it will remain in effect for the next 10 years, starting when city council potentially approves the contract, something that is likely considering attorneys for the BPU wrote up the contract McLaughlin agreed to.

“I’m happy we’ve been able to come to an agreement,” McLaughlin said further.

This potential end to the debate of how Jamestown and Ellicott’s relationship for water and sewer services will pan out follows months of back and forth. Back in May, an agreement had nearly been reached before the BPU revised certain details of an agreement.

Paying 200 percent of the city cost for water was on the table then, and it’s nothing new. Lakewood, Busti and North Harmony all pay that higher rate on their water bills to receive city water. Currently, Ellicott residents are paying 150 percent of what city residents pay. Ellicott water bills range from $8 to $20 per month.

If the agreement is not approved, the city and town may revert back to the 1987 agreement, which McLaughlin said would be more expensive than what he signed Thursday.

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