Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Rest assured Lake Caroline residents, water should stay on
UPDATE SINCE MY EARLIER POST:
Caroline County Will Protect
Water Interests of Lake Caroline
Even though Caroline County has issued notice to the Ladysmith Water Company it will no longer provide water if the private company does not pay past due amounts, the interests of the approximately 1100 homes in the subdivision is the top priority, according to County Administrator Percy Ashcraft.
Earlier this week, notice was served to the Ladysmith Water Company to pay for past due amounts of water they have purchased from the Caroline Public Utility System. The arrears dates back to September of 2009 and is a quite a large sum of money, according to Ashcraft.
“This is a private collection matter and we are handling it as we would any other customer of our system,” commented Ashcraft. “We have a procedure that we implement when customers do not pay their bills. We are taking the action under advisement by our County Attorney.”
Since last year, Ladysmith Water Company has been purchasing water from the County at a rate of about $20,000 per month. Ashcraft said the amount owed includes monthly charges and interest penalties. It has now reached a point where the County has to step in and take some kind of action, but the best interests of the residents of Lake Caroline will be upheld at all times.
“This is a public health situation that affects a tremendous amount of people,” Ashcraft said. “At no time will the County place these folks in a position where they would not have water. However, we have to move forward in putting the Company on notice that we cannot tolerate the absence of paying its bills.”
Ashcraft said the negotiations with Company officials are ongoing. The disconnect notice called for a Monday deadline, but Ashcraft said that is flexible to be determined by the level of cooperation by the Company.
Ashcraft did point out this issue has the attention of the State Corporation Commission and the Virginia Department of Health, both of which have raised issues in the past at formal hearings about the daily operation of the private company. Meetings have also been held in the past with the Lake Caroline Property Owners’ Association to attempt to work more closely with Ladysmith Water Company.
MY EARLIER POST:
Despite a $123,000 overdue water bill, the residents of Lake Caroline shouldn’t have to worry about their water being cut off.
Caroline County did serve a disconnect notice to Ladysmith Water Co., which serves the Lake Caroline community, because the company is behind in paying the county $123,000 for water service.
But the county is in discussions with the water company to work out an agreement.
"Whenever any customer falls behind that significantly, we have to do what is legally within our authority," said County Adminstrator Percy Ashcraft about the disconnection notice. "But it looks like its not going to have to happen."
Ashcraft said they have had various discussions on Ladysmith Water Company’s ability to serve that community.
According to the proposed 2010-2011 county budget, the county is expected to receive about $20,000 a month for serving water to Lake Caroline residents.