A fight over water bills in Fairfax County

Max Smith, wtop.com

FAIRFAX, Va. – Many people in Fairfax County get their water at some of the lowest rates in the area, but others are being charged more, just because of where they live.

Fairfax Water says it has the lowest rates in the region, but tens of thousands of people who live near the cities of Falls Church or Fairfax, or the Town of Vienna, get their water from those smaller, local utilities, and pay a higher rate.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance last month that would require the smaller utilities to justify to the county any charges above the rates set by Fairfax Water, unless they match the lower rates.

Customers who would see discounts if the new law takes effect, are ecstatic. But leaders of the city and town governments say that would violate Virginia law.

State Senator Chap Petersen, D-34, plans to introduce a bill in Richmond that would block what he calls “strong-arm tactics,” and override the county ordinance in no uncertain terms.

At a public meeting this weekend, Kirk Randall, from Fairfax, urged the rest of the county’s delegation to keep the bill from going forward in the General Assembly.

“Please, please vote a resounding no to this anti-Fairfax County, anti-consumer legislation,” Randall said.

Others at the meeting also complained that they have no voice, or vote, when it comes to the city and town governments that oversee the utilities that serve them, and the rate increases.

Below is a comparison of water rates in the county from Fairfax Water:

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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