County, Hodges at loggerheads over sanitary system legislation

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Mar 13, 2013 - 01:10 PM

Gloucester County needs to extend its sanitary sewer system and has asked Del. Keith Hodges to request that the General Assembly take action to help move the process along, but Hodges has declined to do so.

County administrator Brenda Garton explained that the county attorney has advised the board of supervisors that the simplest way to accomplish the task would be to have the county added to a list of seven counties given special billing authority by the General Assembly.

This special billing authority allows the listed counties to require that property owners connect to sanitary sewage and water systems if they are in an area where the systems offer service, but it also allows property owners with access to potable water and the ability to dispose of sewage safely to continue using the systems they have. However, the counties may still require that such property owners pay a connection fee, a front footage fee, and a monthly non-user service charge.

Garton said the county had asked Hodges to introduce the necessary legislation to the General Assembly when the session convened and had made arrangements for attorneys to meet him to discuss his concerns in his Richmond offices in January. However, Hodges wasn’t willing to talk with them or to consider their request.

If the county isn’t allowed to do this, said Garton, there are other choices, but they’re more complicated and involve a legal process that, among other things, requires establishing a governing board for the district.