A Mirror reader posited a few interesting questions that should be looked into regarding the possible sale of water and wastewater utilities.
There are interesting questions that should be answered:
Observations:1. Since the Town has always collected water & sewer “tap fees” in order to issue building permits, will the proposed new utility company collect the fees, and what will be the amounts?
2. Will the previously paid utility investment “tap fees” be refunded by the Town or the proposed new utility company?
3. Will the investors in the current utility upgrades and expansions be reimbursed by the Town or the proposed new utility company?
Regarding the Town Managers letter, it seems, in simple terms: “Don’t blame the Town for inadequate supply, or increases in rates/fees/connection charges/vacant home fees, etc.
“No es mi problema”
The words in Town Manager Hozey’s note mention Bay Creek, which is on the hook to pay for all of the expansion and upgrades required for a 3,000 permitted housing units development (in the original Town (300 new homes) and its expanded annexed South Tract (2,700 new housing Units, plus golf courses, swimming pools, tennis complex, restaurant, Beach Club, fountains, etc.) and repay the Town for the capacity it drew down over the years. How this will actually play out is the rub-it is cheaper to avoid legal fees and a public dispute by having a ‘regulated utility’ take all the heat and pay off the interest-free loan.
Looking back for context. From the Mirror, a review of what the Annexation Agreement said about utilities. The Mirror has written extensively on Law No. 27, which is very straightforward in establishing the requirements of the Annexation of County lands into the Town of Cape Charles:
On page 25; paragraph 2 under Wastewater Treatment, it states, “Funding associated with the expansion has been committed by the developer”. So when the Planning Commission met in 1999, they purposely put that statement into the text, implying that, in planning for the future (which is what the commission is dealing with),it was expected that the developer, Brown and Root/Richard S. Foster, would fund future expansion of the wastewater plant. Why would the Cape Charles Planning Commission make this claim, if not true? A bigger question, why was this language stricken from the current Comp Plan, and not included in the current proposed changes? Why not pursue the developer to pay? Why would members of the town staff and council, attempt to shield Bay Creek entities from the obligations that were agreed upon so many years ago?
Also, note thThe pages extracted below from the Report on the Town of Cape Charles – County of Northampton Annexation Action – February 1991. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ANNEXATION: page 63 Utilities. The Northampton Court Order, Law # 27 specifically addressed the Utility Section in its Order. There were 2 actual Orders. One by the special court on the Annexation and the other by Northampton District Court. The obligations ‘run with the land’, yet interestingly was never included on any title abstract work done for the benefit of Bay Creek Realty/ VAB etc., or by its owner’s (Foster & Sancillio) title companies.
As the town moves forward, it would help not to memory hole the obligations contained in the various Annexation Agreements. The language was stricken from the Comprehensive Plan, which is something to ponder. As always, be diligent and cut through the smoke and mirrors, abstract financial numbers, statistical mythology, the studies, and dubious narratives, which for some time now has been to benefit a specific part of the Cape Charles topology, while marginalizing the rest.