Petersburg water debt could cost neighboring localities

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Petersburg is facing more financial troubles in the form of a $1.2 million lawsuit.

c9d4445231f44df78fc3acb625b90f1bSouth Central Wastewater Authority is suing the city for unpaid bills. The authority issued a press release stating Petersburg hasn’t paid for water treatment services since May. Their monthly bill is about $376,000.

Authority officials say Petersburg residents pay for wastewater services and that money should be used to pay the authority for the services they provide.

“We are basically requesting to be set up as a receivership so when the customers pay their utility bills that portion that is due to South Central is paid to South Central,” said South Central Wasterwater Authority Chairman Robert Wilson.

Residents say the news is disheartening.

e566863ec9364f0c84bcdfe9a932fa7b“To me, it’s a form of stealing from people that are struggling in our community,” city resident Shaneka Turner told 8News Reporter Nakell Williams. “It is disappointing. It’s disappointing and sad.”

In a statement, city officials said it’s disappointing that South Central Wastewater Authority is suing since they say the two parties had been working together to resolve the debt.

City officials say they’ve identified the amounts it owes to South Central Wastewater Authority but argue the lawsuit does not help the city or the authority in achieving resolution for the city’s obligations. They say authority officials know that city officials and council  have been working to resolve the city’s financial difficulties.

If the City of Petersburg fails to pay the debt, the authority would resort to reserve funds and then other localities including Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Prince George and Chesterfield would have to essentially pay Petersburg’s portion.

“Chesterfield, Prince George and Dinwiddie, their waste water flow, either all of it, or part of it flows through the Petersburg’s collection system to get to the plant,” Robert Wilson with South Central Wastewater Authority said.

All of the localities contribute financially for wastewater treatment.

“Speaking strictly for Dinwiddie, their monthly portion is about  $57,000. That amount would basically double,” Wilson explained.

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