Issues concerning the Tuckahoe Creek Service District are piling up. County officials are still digging through a plethora of service discrepancies, resident complaints, and bills to be paid.
“It’s a big mess,” said Rudy Butler, District 4 supervisor. Part of the TCSD lies within his administrative district.
Butler said the major issue has been underdevelopment, which has led to solutions such as flushing-out water systems that aren’t being used at capacity.
According to Don Charles, director of community development, when an automated flushing station is installed for $35,000, Kinloch Golf Club will receive the flushed water free of charge, and will use it for irrigation.
Ned Creasey, District 3 supervisor, said that Goochland residents living in Randolph Square and other subdivisions along River Rd. already receive water and sewer from
TCSD but do not pay the ad valorem tax, which other TCSD users pay to help finance the operating costs until development picks up. The ad valorem tax rate is set at $.23 per $100 of assessed property value.
Lane Ramsey, former county administrator, noted that West Creek businesses also receive TCSD services but pay no ad valorem tax. He said it could be dangerous to remove West Creek from the TCSD because it would decrease water use dramatically, and exacerbate the stagnant-water situation.
Charles said that TCSD has access to 5 million gallons of water from Henrico, and that the county uses a fraction of that capacity.
“That’s why we have to flush the water regularly,” Charles said.
Goochland purchases its water from Henrico for $1.68 per 1,000 gallons and charges $3.33 per 1,000 gallons for the county and James River systems, and $2.95 for the TCSD.
A proposed tax increase would make the TCSD users pay $3.33 per 1,000 gallons and county system residents would pay $3.50.
“We need to combine all systems into one large system,” Butler said.
“We need to consolidate, and refinance the whole thing,” he said.
James Eads, District 5 supervisor, also has constituents within the TCSD, but he thinks the water districts should stand alone.
“The systems can not be commingled,” Eads said at the August 4 meeting. “They were not set up to operate that way.”
The tax increases would help the county pay three large bills–one to Richmond for expansion of their sewage treatment facility, to Henrico for water-line upgrades, and to the Virginia Resource Authority which issued the $64 million bond to build the TCSD.
“You add it all up, and we got a $100 million system,” Butler said. “We could have built our own for about $43 million.”
A September 1 public hearing was set to discuss the tax rate increase, which would also boost the connection fees in the TCSD to $10,000, up from $7,000.
Originally published in The Central Virginian