The current Greene County Board of Supervisors is committed to the construction of a new water impoundment with the associated pumping and treatment facilities required. This is a huge undertaking that is critical for continued growth in our county and will impact Greene citizens for generations. The cost of this project has been estimated to be between 55 and 65 million dollars. This is approximately double the county’s current outstanding debt.

The Board of Supervisors has wisely turned to Davenport & Co. for review and recommendations on financing alternatives for this and other infrastructure projects. In their initial report, Davenport suggests financing through pooled bond issuances administered by the Virginia Resources Authority.  VRA will do an extensive credit review of county finances and will require for Greene to receive a credit rating from multiple national credit rating agencies. ( Standard & Poor, Moody’s and Fitch.)

At the 4/26 BOS meeting, the Midway supervisor commented that a bond rating was not required for financing and cited the burden of increased fiscal responsibility required to maintain a bond rating. While this is correct, is it wise to ignore the recommendations of experts that we have paid to advise the county?  A county bond rating provides a valuable tool for citizens and potential businesses to monitor the county’s financial health.  Our bond rating serves as the canary in a coal mine for our county finances. It would be reassuring for those of us less well versed in finance to know that our situation was being evaluated by an independent third party. Transparency at all levels is critical, “trust but verify”.

We need only look to our neighbors in Fluvanna County to see how large construction projects can devastate a county’s finances. We must get this right, from financing to construction procurement to final system operation. Every citizen needs to be engaged and informed as this progresses. If you haven’t been involved locally, this would be a great time to start. What we can’t do is force our representatives to make decisions without our input and then complain about the final outcome. 

Come to the next Board of Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday May 10th, learn more and make your voice heard.  

-- Keith Bourne

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