When the county developed the Tuckahoe Creek Service District in 2002, it was to be a public utility that would absorb much of the new commercial and industrial growth anticipated to hit Goochland.
But development has been slower than county officials projected, and residents may be footing the bill for the controversial investment.
Lane Ramsey, interim county administrator, reported to the board of supervisors on July 7 that TCSD utility rates need to increase as much as 16 percent to make up for the
$125,000 projected loss. County rates could go up three percent as well.
“Tuckahoe Creek, I think, is gonna be an issue for us,” Ramsey said. “[We need to] look at the [utilities] system long term to determine the viability of it being self-supporting.”
TCSD residents have voiced their opposition to rate increases to make up for the county’s alleged mismanagement of funds.
“Why should we pay more for service when they can’t even fix our water?” said Kathy Maxwell, a resident of the Kinloch subdivision, which has been a source of numerous water complaints.
Other Goochland residents, including Ben Slone, are concerned about what they consider a lack of transparency of the TCSD system.
“There’s too much smoke and mirrors,” Slone said. “The real problem is the lack of quality information.”
Currently, the county is auditing its utilities, separate from the county’s annual comprehensive audit. Ramsey also suggested that the county engage in a comprehensive evaluation of the utilities system, which would come at “a fairly significant cost,” he said.
Malvern R. Butler, District 4 supervisor, mentioned the need to increase the connection fees to make up for the loss in revenue.
Ramsey said that connection fees don’t go towards operating costs which is why they weren’t considered when the utility budget was reviewed.
Earlier this year, supervisors transferred $400,000 from the utility fund to the general fund, which compounded the debt issue.
“I think the board had to do a number of things this year to balance the budget,” Ramsey said.
The TCSD advisory committee will meet at 9 a.m. on August 3, at the Goochland County Administration Building.
Originally published in The Central Virginian.