State Sen. Petersen Looks to Block Fairfax County Water Power Grab

Virginia State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) is drafting legislation he intends to introduce in Richmond next month aimed at blocking Fairfax County’s planned power grab to consolidate control over all water services in the county, a post by Fredrick Kunkle on the Washington Post‘s blog reported today.

Peterson’s senate district includes both the City of Fairfax and the Town of Vienna, whose water systems would be fiercely bullied by the plan the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors intend to act on Tuesday. The other major victim of the county’s effort is the water system of the City of Falls Church, with almost 100,000 customers in the county.

The News-Press‘ comprehensive coverage of the Fairfax plan is covered as the lead story in this week’s edition, headlined, “Fairfax Supervisors Mull ‘Knock Out Punch’ Water Legislation Tuesday.”

According to Kunkle’s report, Petersen’s legislation “would prohibit the Board of Supervisors from interfering with existing service between municipal water utilities and their customers.” At Tuesday’s Board hearing, the measure being considered would mandate that all new water hook ups in the county be with the Fairfax Water Authority, solely, and that the county be empowered to impose water rates on outside water systems currently providing service in the county.

The county’s plan “has troubled officials in neighboring jurisdictions who accuse the county of throwing its weight around to create a monopoly that would reap huge revenues from new development at Tysons Corner and Merrifield,” Kunkle’s blog report stated.

Also cited was a letter sent yesterday by Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields, quoted extensively in the News-Press article from an interview Wednesday, to Fairfax County Manager Tony Griffin reflecting points made by Shields in his News-Press interview concerning higher costs resulting from the move and other complications.

There has been no word yet whether the state legislators who represent the City of Falls Church will support Sen. Petersen’s efforts. All the major players happen to the Democrats, including the majority pushing the water grab on the Fairfax County Board, Petersen and Falls Church’s Sen. Dick Saslaw and Del. Jim Scott.