City of Petersburg has been partially paying for other localities water and sewer

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Petersburg City Council gave Interim City Manager Dironna Belton until July 9 to come back to them with recommendations on how to save money when it comes to the city's nearly 700 employees.

"Layoffs is not on our agenda at this particular time," says Mayor W. Howard Myers.

The Mayor and City Council understand drastic measures are needed and Myers says, "I wouldn't take furlough off the table... it's certainly better than not having a job at all."

City Council and the Interim City Manager may also soon be in negotiations with the surrounding localities who share in the Appomattox River Water Authority and South Central Waste Water Authority to help the City recoup more than $115,000 each month.

City waterFor more than a decade Petersburg has been partially paying for water and sewer costs for other localities.

"That's correct," said Interim Public Works Director Daniel Harrison who added, "We're not charging enough to cover our commodity, operation, maintenance, repair and equipment costs."

The problem dates back, in some cases more than two decades with how Petersburg charges for water and sewer in some instances some contracts go back to the 70's with amendments in the 80's.

"A later amendment was with Prince George in 2003 for water sales," Harrision said.

Harrison

Interim Public Works Director Daniel Harrison

Harrison said in reviewing the contracts he made the discovery that the agreements don't reflect current rates and determined the costs savings could be more than $1 million if the contracts can be updated.

The next step he told City Council, would be for the Interim City Manager and City Attorney to meet with the Public Works Directors from the surrounding counties, Colonial Heights and Fort Lee about updating the service agreements to share in increased costs.

The goal is to have new agreements signed in September of this year.

As for water bills, some home and business owners are getting bills reflecting actual readings for the first time in 18 months.

Harrison said they have fielded phone calls but received few complaints about the new bills which went out at the end of June.

Wednesday, Petersburg learned the Governmental Finance Officers Association had awarded a "Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting" for the fiscal year ended June 30.

The GFOA said this is the highest form of recognition in government accounting and financial reporting and it represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

At the time, Irvin M. Carter, Jr. was the Director of Finance.