As April falls behind in the rear view mirror and makes way for May, the Montross Town Council still had some work to do. Livestreaming the meeting from the town hall, it was not long before the matter of the town’s water system overhaul came up. At the end of last year, the town had completed an income survey which allowed them to qualify for grants and extra-low-interest loans, with the aim of being able to pay for the water system without having to shoot water prices up to rival that of neighboring King George County.

Charlie Reidlinger of Resource International was on hand, via teleconferencing, to give his preliminary report. Reidlinger split the water system revamp into several projects, the first of which is replacing the leak-prone section of 8-inch line, as well as all of the 2-inch water lines, which are woefully inadequate for fire suppression. This project did not include a well, and clocked in at almost $1 million, not counting contingency funds, easements, engineering fees, and so on. With a new well added to the bill, the cost goes up considerably. Assuming that there was no county involvement, the price tag shoots up to an estimated $2.2 million.

Thus, it becomes a question of whether to include a new well or not, and if they do build the well, should they bring the county in on it. According to Lewis, she said that County Administrator Norm Risavi had given his assurances that the town would not be billed for a shared well.

According to Mayor Joey King, the reason why the subject of wells kept cropping up was rather simple. Both the county and town have two wells each at the moment, but the wells are due for replacement due to the method of construction thanks to new environmental rules from Richmond. A joint meeting had resulted in the town and county slinging the idea of two joint wells as a means of keeping both groups from having to spend an arm and a leg on the new wells and such.

At the moment, another meeting between the town and county looks to be required to settle that particular question, however. According to Town Manager Patricia Lewis, the first well, which is behind the Laundromat, would have to be replaced, with the well closer to Washington & Lee High School looking at getting a replacement done four years down the line from that.

The public hearing for financing the project via the USDA is slated to take place this upcoming June.

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