Some counties may pay higher bills over Petersburg’s unpaid ones

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 19:06:16-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – Some area residents could see an increase in their wastewater bills, to help make up the deficit that would be left if Petersburg doesn’t pay their part.

In 1996, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George County created the South Central Wastewater Authority to help share in the cost for disposing of waste water.

But now Petersburg, the largest stake holder in SCWWA, is behind in payments. They owe in excess of $1.5 million.

If no payment is made by Petersburg, there will not be sufficient funds to pay employees or buy supplies in July.

The SCWWA board recently let its five member localities know how dire the situation.

"If Petersburg fails to make full payment by June 15th as they have promised (and they have failed to honor its last four similar commitments), the SCWWA will have little choice than to look to its other members to make up the shortfall,” the board said.

For Colonial Heights, the second biggest stake holder, this could mean an increase of 56% or about $80,000 dollars.

The City Manager of Colonial Heights said it's an increase that would have to be passed on to residents.

CBS 6 learned that could add about $15-20 dollars every two months.

Dinwiddie County would see about $54,000 increase and Prince George County about an $38,000 increase.

But administrators said that for the short-term the counties could absorb the amount -- but if it continued they too would have to pass it on to residents.

Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie and Prince George would see this as a loan to Petersburg and would expect it to be paid back with interest.

CBS 6 reached out to the City of Petersburg and received a statement.

"The City of Petersburg is working with the Wastewater Authority to meet its payment obligations.  Per the last correspondence from the Wastewater Authority dated May 20th, the City of Petersburg was given a deadline of June 14th   and is working diligently to adhere to the established deadline.  As the end of the fiscal year approaches, the City will begin to collect additional revenues giving the City greater leverage to meet its financial obligation to the Authority in a timely matter."

Petersburg is also part of two other regional organizations, Appomattox River Water Authority and Riverside Regional Jail, and owes money to both.

Currently Petersburg owes ARWA $394,000.

CBS 6 learned that just this week; Petersburg gave a check to Riverside Regional Jail for $267,040.

The check covered the payment for September 2015 and the check was dated December 15, 2015.

City and County leaders said they are concerned the lack of payments to the other two organizations could also result in them having to make up the difference.