Letter to the Editor: There may be some consequences to pact
Six residents spoke to Town Council on Sept 14 on the recent water and sewer agreement between the town and county. One set of comments follows as possible consequences of the agreement:
First, town checks water policy, Chapter 134.1.C paragraphs 1 and 5 with two ideas on requests for water/sewer beyond town limits. Town adjusts its method for county.
Eventually, construction of Crooked Run West starts; the town pays to extend water and sewer services to that area.
Town adjusts its own lodging tax to balance the competitive playing field. Town loses revenue from lodging re-adjustment totaling close to projected revenue from county.
Eighteen months from agreement start date, first payment is due from the county to the town. County figures they either cancel the agreement or raise county taxes to cover the deficit and money owed to town. Tax increases may be as high as 7 percent for each of two years — based on remarks at county budget hearing.
County cancels the agreement. Town has to increase water/sewer rates to cover loss of revenue and infrastructure costs paid by town honoring agreement. Town cannot refuse to provide water to area once it agrees to do so.
County and its businesses sue town over unreasonable water/sewer rates. The town pays to battle in court to defend rates.
County continues to use town’s investment in water/sewer infrastructure by attracting more new commercial and industrial growth, which has the effect of a county-controlled town. Town struggles to survive. Town fights annexation battle to survive.
Council historically has helped the county to be financially solvent and to foster county growth, yet this agreement portends abuse of the town as its return on investment.
Linda J. Allen, Front Royal