Help working families to afford the sewer/waste water project in Catlett/Calverton VA

Help working families to afford the sewer/waste water project in Catlett/Calverton VA

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Peter Schunk started this petition to Faquier County Board of Supervisors

We are Fauquier County residents who would like government assistance to pay for the sewer/wastewater system mandated for our area.  We are not trying to stop the project.

What is under contention is the high price tag of the project. Currently, approximately half of the homeowners didn't opt in by a 2016 deadline, and now MUST pay an estimated $46,000 up front.

The other half of homeowners who did opt-in, still have a hefty price tag of $20,000 to pay when they sell their home (this is the lien option). 

Neither group is happy about paying tens of thousands for a sewer that might cost much less if there were additional grants to help cover the cost.

As a comparison, a sewer project in the Florida Keys where a sewer was installed and a sewage plant was built, cost homeowners much less due to federal assistance. For homeowners that met tiered income qualifications, the cost was $3,500. 

Interestingly, Middleburg, Virginia (which is a middle to high income area) offers a sewer and water hookup for $37,000. Compare that to our low to moderate income area, which has a combined price tag of $60,000 for these services ($46,000 sewer + $14,000 water). Middleburg also offers a lower price for connection to those who meet income qualifications. There is no assistance and no lower price available for the Catlett/Calverton area.

When residents approach the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors, we are told that "We had our chance to participate". 

This isn't quite true, since MANY homeowners were not in their home until after the 2016 deadline. 2017-2021 homebuyers were not informed of the sewer project by sellers, and homebuyers discovered the sewer project after their home purchase.

For 2016 homeowners, there was little reason to sign up to pay thousands of dollars (the lien option) for a sewer project that seemed highly unlikely. The project has literally been discussed for decades (since the 1960s). It had not produced the labor of one shovel of soil being removed for the project - until 2020.

We strongly suggest the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors consider the views and needs of their constituents, end the rhetoric that seeks to blame constituents, and find additional government funding for this project. We believe this project was earnestly begun to help homeowners, yet has somehow turned into a financial burden for all involved.

Homeowners in the Catlett / Calverton area are interested in the following options:

1) GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE: Currently, there is no qualification process in place and 0 funding assistance for those who can't pay.

We would like the County Supervisors to attain additional government funding, whether that be state or federal grants. A review of current, relevant EPA grants suggests funding is available. 

Once grants are obtained, a qualification process should be created to allow a price break according to income for residents. Retirees and other qualified homeowners should be allowed a lower price on the sewer to home hookup.

2) LIEN: If at all possible, we would like the lien option lowered and extended to all residents, not just those who made the 2016 deadline.

We understand that there is a need to pay back a loan to the General Fund. However, the regular turnover in the area might allow for loan pay back if all homeowners are given the lien option plus future commercial opt-ins are given a higher rate.

3) PAYMENT PLAN: Regardless of qualification status, homeowners would like the ability to pay over a period of time, rather than a lump sum up front. For example, residents have suggested paying half up front and then paying the remainder in monthly increments.

Currently, this sewer/wastewater project has caused shock waves throughout the area. Many families feel forced to sell their home, while others are at a loss for how to pay for the project. All consider the project to be a severe financial blow. 

We believe there is a better solution for funding the Catlett/ Calverton sewer/wastewater project; one that requires less money from taxpaying homeowners' pockets. We implore the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors to seek additional grants. 

We believe additional grants will give homeowners the lower payment options they need, and in turn provide the County Board of Supervisors the opt-ins and homeowner payments they need in order to repay the General Fund. We hope the County Board of Supervisors considers this option.

Thank you for your consideration.

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