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Henrico hikes water-sewage fees, approves $137M reservoir contract

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The courts building, part of the Henrico County government complex. (Kieran McQuilkin)

HENRICO, Va. — With a nearly $300 million plan in the works to ensure its drinking water supply for the foreseeable future, Henrico County’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance Tuesday to raise connection, service and usage fees for water and sewage.

The measure was said to be a routine “annual adjustment,” meant to help the county fund the proposed Cobbs Creek Reservoir dam and facilities. Fees and charges for water and sewage would increase by 5 percent, with connection fees for new single-family residences raised from $4,415 to $4,635 and basic sewer connection fees raised from $5,340 to $5,605, effective Oct. 1 this year.

Bimonthly service charges and usage fees also will rise by 5 percent under the measure, increasing residents’ service charges to $6.62 per roughly 10,500 gallons of water – about the average usage rate of a two- to three-person household every two months. That increase applies to new and existing residential and commercial structures, and will go into effect July 1.

Supervisor Tommy Branin said the increased connection fees were not startup fees for residents moving into existing homes, but instead fees for connecting a newly built structure to the existing sewer and water lines.

Brookland resident John Owens questioned whether the county might instead charge a new residence based on square footage instead of a flat-rate connection fee. However, the director of public works, Arthur Petrini, explained that a new residence would be paying for participation in the infrastructure, not for later potential usage. The measure passed unanimously.

Also passed Tuesday evening was the construction contract for the Cobbs Creek Reservoir, a $280 million project taking shape on 1,800 acres in Cumberland County that’s expected to secure the county’s drinking water needs for the next 50 years.

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