After a closed session meeting July 14, Purcellville Town Council voted unanimously to reject an unsolicited proposal by Aqua Virginia, a private utilities company, to purchase the town’s water and sewer treatment system.
Aqua Virginia is a subsidiary of Aqua America and provides service to more than 75,000 residents through 24,160 water connections and 6,903 wastewater connections.
Prior to the closed session, Councilman Ted Greenly said he had received multiple comments from town residents who are concerned about the concept. He noted Aqua toured the facility a year ago.
Greenly said he was willing to move forward with the discussion in a closed-door meeting because there would be no discussion about selling the facility, and the meeting was for informational purposes only.
Councilman Tip Stinnette said he also had concerns about the proposal.
“The analogy we have all lived through is the Greenway, aptly named the Greedway. We are not enthused about that model, and this unsolicited bid is just that,” Stinnette said.
Councilman Joel Grewe told the Times-Mirror the most important consideration if the town were to sell the plant is to implement a price control system.
“This would get rid of debt, but we also lose control. It would be entirely controlled by an unelected body. It’s an easy way to get rid of a problem but doing that would ignore the logical consequence,” he said.
Discussion of the Purcellville’s water and sewer rates has been a constant topic before the town council over the past two years.
The town’s economic advisor, Stantec, has recommended the town will need to raise rates in order to generate revenue to meet budget demands and to cover debt.
Following the closed session, Stinnette made a motion to reject the unsolicited proposal from Aqua while town council conducts further due diligence on the merits of the concept. Council voted 7-0 to reject the proposal.