2006-08-30 / News

County agrees to water contract with Powhatan

By Greg Pearson


After almost a one-hour discussion last week, the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors agreed to a contract negotiated by its utilities department to provide 500,000 gallons of water daily to Powhatan County. Director of Utilities Roy Covington was also asked to request that Powhatan accept language that would permit a proportional reduction of water if Chesterfield was asked to cut its water usage by the same percentage.

During peak periods, Chesterfield uses 60 million gallons a day from three sources - Lake Chesdin, Swift Creek Reservoir and the James River, which is purchased from the city of Richmond. In times of a drought or a natural disaster, several supervisors wanted the same proportional reduction in the daily water commitment from Powhatan.

State Senator John Watkins cautioned the board in its dealings with Powhatan. "This is an extremely sensitive area...that could send the wrong message," he advised.

Supervisor Kelly Miller wanted firm language in the contract about the proportional reduction, but he eventually proposed the motion accepted by the board.

"We don't want to damage our relationship with Powhatan," insisted Chairman Dickie King.

Watkins also told the board that Powhatan was forming its own water authority to take water directly from the James River. What Chesterfield wanted from Powhatan could be imposed by Richmond in its water contract with Chesterfield, he suggested.

Since 1997, Powhatan has been paying Chesterfield for a water option it couldn't access. Now Powhatan has paid Chesterfield $1.1 million to let a contract with Godsey and Sons to extend a 16-inch water line from the Huguenot Springs water tower into Powhatan. It will be extended 7,300 linear feet and will also be available for connection for Chesterfield residents in its path.

Community Development Authority

The Chesterfield board voted unanimously to form its first community development authority (CDA) to finance the road network needed for the Watkins Centre. Property owners of 503 acres agreed that part of the real estate taxes collected by the county would be earmarked for a north-south artery through the 800-acre site. Additional access to Route 288 and widening Midlothian Turnpike are also proposed.

About $16 million in tax exempt bonds are needed, and the supervisors appointed a fiveperson authority board to oversee the CDA. The Watkins Centre is projected to have 2.1 million square feet of office and warehouse space and 1.3 million square feet of retail.

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