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2019 Legislative Program, Policy Positions
SOLAR ENERGY FACILITIES
The City opposes any legislation that further reduces the authority of a local government to regulate the siting or development of solar energy facilities. In addition, the City opposes the diminishment of local tax authority over solar energy facilities.
The City opposes legislation to further reduce local zoning authority and public input in the siting of new wireless support structures. The City opposes limiting applicable permit fees to an arbitrary rate in statute that doesn’t reflect the actual costs and planning staff time; and it opposes legislation that limits local control over its own public rights of way and public property to benefit one industry.
IMPACT FEES/CONDITIONAL ZONING/RECORDATION FEE
The City recommends that the General Assembly enact laws to broaden and simplify impact fee authority to allow the assessment of the fees for all public infrastructure, including school construction costs, caused by growth. Impact fees should be based on public facilities construction costs and fees should be locality-specific.
A bifurcated system could be considered where cash proffers are used for rezoning applications and impact fees for by-right development. Any change must not shift the burden of paying for new infrastructure to existing citizens through increased real estate taxes.
The City supports simplification of the statutory construct regarding proffers, to this end, the City supports the repeal of the 2016 proffer legislation or short of that, supports significant amendments to return flexibility to the City’s ability to work with developers to help mitigate the costs of new residential development. The City further supports amending the 2016 proffer legislation language to clarify the meaning of terms used in the statute which have not been referenced in proffer law in the past.
The City also supports a comprehensive study of public infrastructure funding, as it relates to proffers, the potential for broad impact fees, state funding sources, and other potential tools to help localities keep up with necessary demands on public infrastructure.
The City opposes any reduction of local authority to manage such functions as land use, zoning, conditional use permits, etc. Local governments must retain current authority to use conditional zoning rules in the State Code to balance the financial impact created by residential development and to facilitate well-planned communities that are compatible with nearby developments.
The City supports legislation that would aid local revitalization/redevelopment efforts such as, but not limited to, additional funding for demolition of abandoned structures, statutory presumption of abandonment, authority to enter and abate derelict buildings, and expanded authority concerning spot blight abatement.
VIRGINIA HOUSING TRUST FUND
The City supports continued state funding for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. The City also supports providing for a portion of the Fund to be used to provide matching funds to localities that have established local housing funds, and grants to be made from the Fund to support innovative housing projects and low and moderate income housing projects that are located in areas experiencing extreme shortages of such housing.
FUNDING FOR OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION
The City desires to protect its open space, agricultural lands and industries, natural resources, including its drinking water supply watershed, natural habitats, and historic sites. Conserving these resources is critical to Virginia’s economy and establishing a balance between the conservation of open space/natural resource lands and residential and/or commercial development is essential to quality of life and fiscal health. The City supports the efforts to establish a dedicated funding source for open space conservation, to include agricultural lands.
MOTOR VEHICLE TITLE LOANS, PAYDAY LOANS, AND OPEN-END CREDIT PLANS
The City urges the passage of legislation to enact a market based interest rate cap for consumer loans made in the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to protect citizens from the high interest rates that are presently allowed. The City also supports a reversal of the legislation that was adopted in 2011. The 2011 amendment allowed title loan issuers to advance loans secured by out of state vehicles.
System Transformation, Excellence and Performance in Virginia
STEP – VA was developed to address: Accountability, Access, Quality, and Consistency across all CSBs to work toward excellence in behavioral healthcare and ultimately a healthy Virginia. STEP-VA services are intended to foster wellness among individuals and prevent crises before they arise. The result would be fewer admissions to state and private hospitals, decreased emergency room visits, and reduced involvement of individuals with behavioral health needs in the criminal justice system.
The core services and supports in STEP-VA are now mandated in the Code of Virginia but have not been fully funded. In order to meet the code mandated timeline for implementation of all the services and supports, the General Assembly needs to provide full funding in the 2018 – 2020 biennial budgets.
The City desires funding in this biennium for these 10 services in the Step-VA Model: Screening, Assessment and Diagnosis including Risk Assessment, Crisis Services (including 24 hour mobile), Crisis Intervention and Stabilization, Targeted Case Management, Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Psycho-social Rehabilitation, Peer and Family Support, Care for Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans, Primary Care Screening and Monitoring, and Patient Centered Treatment Planning. The 2017 General Assembly mandated that Same Day Access (SDA) and Primary Care Screening (PCS) come on board by 2019 and the remaining eight services are mandated to come on board by 2021.
The City urges, at a minimum, funding will for the CSBs to implement the next phase of the STEP –VA model which is to expand outpatient services. This will cost an estimated $15 million dollars for the Commonwealth.
Increase the reimbursement rate for Medicaid Early Intervention Case Management to its data-determined adequacy: Early Intervention Services result in special education cost savings and provide an increased quality of life for the child and his/her family.
The City desires an increase in the Medicaid Early Intervention case management reimbursement rate. This increase is necessary because the current monthly rate does not cover the expenses of providing this critical service, which ensures eligible children and families receive service coordination that is appropriate to the needs of infants, toddlers and their families. We currently receive $132.00 per case per month, while intellectual disability case management is paid at $326.50 per month.
Reduce the I/DD Waiver Waiting List: Currently, over 11,000 people with developmental disabilities (DD) are on a waiting list for community-based services. Virginia’s DD Waivers have been redesigned to provide increased access to community supports. Using the Family and Individual Supports Waiver, Virginia can serve 50% of the individuals on the DD Waiver waiting list for a quarter of the cost of existing DD waiver programs. Receiving a Waiver slot will enable an individual who needs developmental services and supports to live a life that is fully integrated in the community.
The City desires a reduction in the waiting list for DD Waivers by funding 800 additional Family and Individual Supports (FIS) Waivers and 250 Community Living (CL) Waivers. Chesapeake currently has 373 individuals (on all three (3) levels) on the Developmental Disability Waiting list.
CHILDREN’S SERVICES ACT (CSA)
Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) recently announced regulatory changes to the process by which children are placed in Residential Treatment Facilities. Under the new process, which will begin December 1 of this year, admission for all Medicaid-funded placements for residential treatment will be coordinated by an Independent Assessment, Certification and Coordination Team (IACCT).
This proposal represents a significant change and local Children’s Services Act (CSA) coordinators across the State have raised many questions about how this process would work, including concerns about the required deadlines for the IACCT to complete an assessment and the role of the physician member of the IACCT.
At this time, the City can neither support nor oppose the concept of transferring the state pool funding for students with disability in private day educational programs to the Virginia Department of Education because there needs to be more study and analysis on the following areas:
- What factors are driving costs and placements in private special education day schools?
- What is the current capacity of Chesapeake Public Schools to handle this responsibility (knowledge, personnel, programmatic/physical infrastructure = cost/time analysis)?
- What are the positives of the current system (outcome data / cost analysis of private day schools compared to public schools providing these services)?
- If funding is moved out of CSA and reallocated under a new formula through VDOE, it is likely that only a fixed amount will be transferred, rather than the current sum-sufficient allocation under CSA. If costs to serve children increased, would the state’s contribution be limited? Would the locality be obligated to make-up the difference? (This could be a potential to be a large financial risk).
- If funding remains in CSA what tools are put in place to help control these costs?
LIABILITY OF TEACHER RETIREMENT PLAN
The unfunded liability associated with the teacher retirement plan should be a shared responsibility of the state and local government. In that local public school systems, in accordance with government accounting standards (GASB) are a “component unit” of the locality for purposes of financial reporting, the Virginia Municipal League supports legislation that would provide for the Virginia Department of Education to pay its share of retirement costs directly to the Virginia Retirement System in order to facilitate the sharing of these liabilities.
TIDEWATER COMMUNITY COLLEGE – CHESAPEAKE CAMPUS
Tidewater Community College, with 45,000 students, serves South Hampton Roads, where the shortage of skilled workers to fill STEM jobs is above average compared to other MSAs in the U.S. According to the Brookings Institution, the region was ranked No. 1 in the share of jobs requiring education on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Health Care (STEM/H) skills and sub-bachelor’s level of education.
Consistent with TCC’s campus master plans and its role in developing the workforce:
- TCC’s top legislative priority is full funding for construction of a Science and Engineering Building on the Chesapeake Campus. These funds will be used for the construction of a 76,000 square foot Science and Engineering Building with classrooms and labs for Chemistry, Biology, Natural Sciences, Geology, and Physics. In addition, the new facility will provide much-needed space for the campus’ Engineering and Engineering Technologies programs. This facility directly addresses the need for STEM credentials. These programs are currently housed in antiquated labs in the 35-year old Pass Building and in temporary modular buildings.
- Regional Center for Transportation, Logistics and Truck Driving New Construction Project, City of Chesapeake - 80,000 square foot Center for Transportation and Port Logistics – An education center of Tidewater Community College that will house academic and workforce programs in diesel technologies, collision repair technologies, maritime and ship repair, logistical movement of goods into and through regional ports and truck driver training. This project responds to the growing demand to support economic development direction of Hampton Roads as a major national transportation and logistics hub for the east coast. The facility will provide space for training students in the repair and maintenance of diesel engines that power transportation equipment such as heavy trucks, buses, boats, locomotives and other heavy vehicles and mobile equipment. The collision repair component of the facility will allow for training in structural and non-structural auto body repair including metal finishing, paint preparation and refinishing. Regional business and industry partners and labor statistics report significant demand for diesel, marine and collision repair technicians and truck drivers due to high numbers of retirements and lack of skilled entry-level workers in the area. These jobs are not only in high demand but also offer high pay. Technician jobs are increasingly complex using computerized diagnostics and advanced knowledge of electrical, mechanical and computerized control systems. Technicians must have a solid, highly technical skill set and must continually learn new techniques and advanced processes and materials through workforce training once in these positions.
The City opposes any amendments to limit the scope of Pretrial Services, as well as supports the continued funding of Pretrial Services in the Commonwealth.
For years the state has consistently underfunded its share of administrative costs (including personnel and technology) for programs administered on its behalf by local departments of social services. The state agency has now decided to make local agencies solely liable for federal financial penalties resulting from federal audits of the system. Federal law does not require passing this cost onto localities; it is the state’s choice to do so. If the state is concerned with improved performance and accountability, it must fully acknowledge and fulfill its responsibility in this partnership by properly funding, staffing, equipping, and supporting the local offices that render services on its behalf.
The City urges the state to provide additional funding for transit services and client advocacy training. We support the state’s efforts to open an interactive “portal” for clients to review their resources, apply for and change appointments and access services from their home. The Chesapeake Social Services Division has concerns with the barriers to human service providers sharing redundant customer information, which the customer has authorized to be shared. We request that the state remove electronic barriers to the sharing of this information. Along these lines, it is requested that the state continue to find ways to reduce the paperwork requirements, simplify program requirements and integrate requirements between state systems.
The City also supports the Department of Juvenile Justice increasing the Block Grant Funding to 50% of the Chesapeake Juvenile Services (Detention Home) operating budget. Consideration for continued funding of the Community Corrections Program (CCP) is an essential component of re-entry for Juvenile Detention.
*New: FORGERY OF NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS - VENUE
The City support legislation to provide that when any negotiable instrument is forged and deposited into a financial institution via electronic means, generally referred to as a mobile deposit, venue shall lie in the jurisdiction where the victim resides. If the victim is a business entity, venue shall lie in any jurisdiction where the business entity has a physical location. Mobile deposits shall include, but not be limited to, those done via a wifi connection, a cellular data connection or any other electronic means. This shall apply regardless of whether the defendant was ever physically in such locality.
Any legislation or regulatory action having a fiscal impact on local governments should also be accompanied with state appropriations adequate to cover the full cost of such mandates.
LOCAL REPRESENTATION ON LEGISLATIVE STUDIES IMPACTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Local government representatives should be included on any “blue ribbon” commission or other body established by the state that has as its purpose changes to local revenue authority or governance.
LOCAL TAXING AUTHORITY
The General Assembly should not cap, remove or restrict any revenue sources, taxing authority or user fees available to localities. The erosion of local revenue sources reduces local flexibility, increases local government’s reliance on the real property tax and jeopardizes local bond ratings. If the state does eliminate or restrict local revenue sources, it should replace those revenues lost to the localities. The loss to localities includes not only current revenues being derived from the revenue source, but also potential increases in revenues due to growth or rate increases.
STATE AID TO LOCALITIES
State aid to localities assists in providing services at the local level, many of which are mandated. The state and localities are in partnership in providing these services to their citizens and localities should not be expected to take on a greater and greater share of the funding responsibility. The City opposes cuts in state assistance programs such as, but not limited to, full funding of State Aid to Local Public Libraries, HB 599 funding for localities with police departments, extension services, local offices on youth, Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) funds and services for senior citizens. The City also opposes any further reduction to the car tax reimbursement to local governments.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT PROGRAMS
The City supports State funding for such programs as the Virginia Jobs Investment Program and the Governor’s Opportunity Fund. The City also supports changes to the State’s economic development incentives program to provide increased flexibility to provide assistance to a wider range of companies, especially smaller and mid-sized projects. Further, the City supports the creation and implementation of new economic development incentive program that are based on “best practices” of Virginia’s competitor states.
VIRGINIA ENTERPRISE ZONE PROGRAM
The City’s Enterprise Zone program was recognized as one of the most successful in the Commonwealth. It was a vital component to the City’s ability to bring business and job growth to the City’s South Norfolk community. The program designation expired in 2005, and the reapplication process was placed on hold by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development while changes to the statewide program were being considered by the 2005 Virginia General Assembly. These program changes were highly significant, and removed the City’s eligibility to participate in the Enterprise Zone program.
The City supports a revision of the state’s Enterprise Zone program to provide additional funding and to revert back to the original eligibility criteria, whereby Enterprise Zone designations were granted based on the demographics and economics of specific neighborhoods, and not the City as a whole.
FUNDING FOR CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICES
The City of Chesapeake urges the state to fund the additional positions for the Offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney, City Treasurer, and Commissioner of the Revenue, that its own staffing standards indicate are needed, and which more accurately reflect the actual workloads and requirements of these offices.
STATEWIDE TRANSIT CAPITAL FUNDING
The City supports state funds, to replace state bond funding that will significantly decline beginning in FY2019, for transit State of Good Repair (SGR) and transit expansion projects. The Commonwealth needs steady and reliable revenues dedicated to the statewide transit capital program. This funding is primarily for bus replacement, support vehicles, computer systems, and related transit support. Hampton Roads localities would need to identify an additional $12 million annually to meet basic state of good repair for existing buses if historical state funding were not continued.
REGIONAL TRANSIT FUNDING
The City supports the development of a new funding model to support regional public transit without a reduction in funding for other transportation modes. New regional transit funding will enable the region to develop a fully integrated and inter-connected regional transit system by:
- Fixing what’s broken or missing in the current system;
- Making targeted improvements that more effectively connect major employment, retail, education, medical, and tourism destinations across city boundaries resulting in a true regional transit system;
- Including new oversight, prioritization, and accountability provisions.
Hampton Roads is a global gateway for commerce that is vitally important to Virginia’s economy. Transit plays an important role regionally, supporting more than 20,300 jobs and $538 million annually in employment income, as well as $89 million in consumer spending across Hampton Roads. The lack of a regional funding structure has resulted in a system of localized transit routes rather than a fully integrated and optimized regional transit system. A metropolitan area of 1.7 million people must have a truly regional transit system if it is to grow and compete in the global marketplace.
The City appreciates the General Assembly’s efforts to meet the demand for construction and maintenance of highways, bridges, railroad overpasses and other critical components of transportation safety and commerce. The City supports continued funding for the State of Good Repair program, bridge construction, and bridge maintenance and operations, especially for moveable bridges. The City further requests the State to retain the Revenue Sharing Program.
With passenger rail service now running through Chesapeake and freight-rail activities on the rise, the need for grade separated highway-rail crossings is critical to ensure emergency access to the ever increasing industrial areas along the Elizabeth River, as well as highly populated residential areas. The City and the Norfolk-Portsmouth Beltline Railroad jointly funded the design of the Freeman Avenue overpass and are seeking construction funding through various state and federal programs. Further, the City is undertaking the replacement of the 22nd Street Bridge which serves as a crossing of the Norfolk-Southern Railroad. Additional funding is needed to design and construct overpasses at major crossings such as Freeman Avenue and Portlock Road.
The City strongly opposes any proposal to reduce annual road maintenance payments to the 83 Virginia local governments that own and maintain their own streets.
*New: IMPERSONATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The City supports amending Va. Code §18.2-174 by changing the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony if impersonation occurs during the commission of another crime by adding the bolded underlined language shown below.
§18.2-174. Any person who shall falsely assume or exercise the functions, powers, duties and privileges incident to the office of sheriff, police officer, marshal, or other peace officer, or who shall falsely assume or pretend to be any such officer, shall be deemed guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
However, if any person shall falsely assume or exercise the functions, powers, duties and privileges incident to the office of sheriff, police officer, marshal, or other peace officer, or who shall falsely assume or pretend to be any such officer during the commission of VA Code Sections 18.2-58: Robbery; 18.2-61: Rape; 18.2-67.1:Forcible sodomy; 18.2-67.2: Object sexual penetration; 18.2-67.3: Aggravated sexual battery; 18.2-67.4: Sexual battery; or any attempted rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery,or for the purpose of circumventing or bypassing any security measures at any business or establishment they shall be deemed guilty of a Class 6 Felony.
Increasing the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony under certain circumstances will reflect the seriousness of the offense of impersonating a police officer. Most law abiding citizens will obey without question the directions or requests of a person they believe to be a law enforcement officer. An article in the Virginian Pilot newspaper highlighted an individual who had posed as a law enforcement officer to stop females and then handcuffed and fondled them. In July of this year we had a home invasion and shooting in the South Norfolk section of the city where suspects broke into a home and claimed to be the Chesapeake Police as they broke into the home. Also, given the current terrorism environment, individuals who impersonate a police officer pose a threat to many security systems as some security personnel may be more likely to allow someone they believe to be a police officer to enter a secured area.
*New: THREATS OF DEATH OR BODILY INJURY TO A PERSON OR MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY; THREATS TO COMMIT SERIOUS BODILY HARM TO PERSONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY; PENALTY
The City supports amending Va. Code §18.2-60 by adding language such as what is underlined below. Language would cover general ‘terroristic threats’such as shoot up a school or disrupt a meeting through such threats. (Many states have such terroristic threats to cover generic school threats).
A. 1. Any person who knowingly communicates, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, a threat to kill or do bodily injury to a person, regarding that person or any member of his family, and the threat places such person in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily injury to himself or his family member, is guilty of a Class 6 felony. However, any person who violates this subsection with the intent to commit an act of terrorism as defined in § 18.2-46.4 is guilty of a Class 5 felony.
2. Any person who communicates a threat, in a writing, including an electronically transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message, to kill or do bodily harm, or to cause damage to property(i) on the grounds or premises of any elementary, middle or secondary school property, (ii) at any elementary, middle or secondary school-sponsored event, or (iii) on a school bus to any person or persons, regardless of whether the person or group of people who is the object of the threat actually receives the threat,
and the threat would place the person who is the object of the threat in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily harm and either the person receiving the threat or the person or group who is the object of the threat reasonably believes such threat could be carried out, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
3. Any person who knowingly and willfully conveys false information knowing the information to be false concerning an offense described in subsection 2 of this section is guilty of a Class 6 felony. If such act be done willfully but unknowingly, and without simultaneously making a report to law enforcement, such person is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
The court shall order any person convicted of an offense under this section to reimburse the state or any subdivision of the state for any expenses incurred by the state or the subdivision incident to its response to a violation of subsections 2 or 3 of this section.
The conviction of any person under the provisions of this section does not preclude or otherwise limit any civil proceedings arising from the same act.
B. Any person who orally makes a threat to any employee of any elementary, middle or secondary school, while on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, to kill or to do bodily injury to such person, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
A prosecution pursuant to this section may be either in the county, city or town in which the communication was made or received.
CPD and surrounding jurisdictions have experienced a dramatic increase in school related threats correlating with nationwide mass shooting events. Officers have had difficulties prosecuting such threats mainly due to the specific nature of the code. Many of the threats simply say I’m going to shoot up the school. Shooting up the school doesn’t necessarily mean “people” because it could just mean shooting at the building when it is unoccupied. We are looking for ways to prosecute these individuals. We are seeking to add “cause damage to property” or similar language that would allow us to prosecute these types of threats.
Another frequent trend is people posting online such indirect threats as “don’t go to school tomorrow, there’s going to be a shooting” or “don’t go to school” accompanied by a picture of a gun. With the addition of subsection 3 those individuals may be charged with communicating a knowingly false threat. Furthermore, for those communicating such threats and using the excuse they were just forwarding the message to warn everyone, the second sentence of subsection 3 would require a simultaneous notification to law enforcement when the threat is communicated.
Lastly, the inclusion of the clause referring to reimbursement would provide additional punishments and a means for government to recoup its monetary loss.
The City supports legislation to require a sex offender who enters an emergency shelter designated by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and operated in response to a declared state or local emergency shall, as soon as practicable after entry, to notify a member of the shelter's staff who is responsible for providing security of such person's status as a registered sex offender.
The City supports the introduction of legislation that addresses the issue of distracted driving.
The City supports legislative initiatives that would lawfully restrict solicitors and other persons from standing on public right-of-way, including medians, where doing so is likely to create a public safety hazard. The City recognizes the need to balance public safety with First Amendment rights of free speech and believes that an acceptable narrowly drawn compromise is possible given the compelling governmental interest in ensuring the safety of motorists and pedestrians alike.
The City supports the animal cruelty legislative initiative adopted by Virginia Beach to amend Virginia Code § 3.2-6570 to allow persons who severely abuse companion animals to be charged with a Class 6 felony, regardless of whether the animal survives or whether the defendant has been previously convicted of the same crime within the past 5 years. Currently, animal cruelty arises to a Class 6 felony only if the animal dies or there are other aggravating circumstances; otherwise it is limited to a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 6 felony is punishable by 1-5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2500. It is the “lowest” class of felony.
Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
The UASI designation for the Hampton Roads region was restored in 2017. The City supports the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission’s request for assistance from our state and federal partners to increase the level of UASI funding provided to the Hampton Roads region.
SAFETY BELT REQUIREMENT
An amendment to Virginia Code § 46.2-1094 is necessary to protect the lives and wellbeing of citizens of the Commonwealth and others traveling on the roadways within Virginia. Currently, Virginia Code § 46.2-1094 requires persons who are at least 16 years of age and riding in the front seat of a motor vehicle to wear a safety belt; however, law-enforcement officers are prohibited from enforcing this section, unless they have cause to stop or arrest the driver of the vehicle for some other violation. Wearing seatbelts has proven to save lives. To make this code section more effective in saving lives, law-enforcement officers need to be authorized to enforce Virginia Code § 46.2-1094, without first being required to find that another law has been violated.
*New: OFFSHORE DRILLING
The City opposes oil and gas exploration, including seismic testing and drilling, off the coast of Hampton Roads.
Coal Combustion By-PRODUCTS
The City supports the removal of any coal combustion residuals (CCR) to a permitted, lined landfill meeting Federal criteria for this class of waste, or beneficially used or recycled in a manner that is compliant with governing Chesapeake ordinances, State and Federal law, applicable State and Federal criteria, and the EPA’s Final Rule for the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities (“CCR Final Rule”). The closure and post-closure of any CCR landfill or surface impoundment, including inactive surface impoundments, should also be in compliance with any conditional use permit issued by the City.
Groundwater Management & Groundwater Injection Projects
The City supports the conclusions of the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area provided to the General Assembly for consideration. Specifically, it supports the following:
- Support of Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s SWIFT and similar projects, including aquifer storage, recovery, and recharge.
- Promotion of alternative water sources and solutions included in the report.
- Lengthening the maximum groundwater permit term to fifteen years by changing the statutory language in Virginia Code Section 62.1-266(C).
- Establishment of incentives for local governments and well owners to connect to public surface water systems when reasonably available, with credits to localities to help lower connection fees or to provide low cost financing.
- The continued activity of the groundwater trading group established by House Bill 1036 to study and identify the components of a groundwater trading program.
- Support funding to the Department of Environmental Quality through General Fund appropriation that ensures a robust groundwater management program in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management
- Support legislation or regulations that require yard irrigation systems to withdraw water from either the surficial or shallowest confined aquifer.
Uranium mining, milling, and disposal of generated wastes pose health and environmental concerns for Virginians. If uranium mining activities are permitted in Virginia, the City is concerned that radiation and other pollutants from mill tailings may occur and water supplies may be contaminated. Therefore, the City opposes uranium mining in Virginia, and opposes the elimination of the existing legislative moratorium on the mining and milling of uranium in Virginia. Further, the Commonwealth is requested to vigorously oppose federal court actions to overturn the moratorium on uranium mining.
SOLID WASTE OR OTHER SURCHARGES
The City opposes the imposition of a state fee or surcharge on water, sewer, or any other local government service.
STORMWATER LOCAL ASSISTANCE FUND (SLAF)
The City is requesting that the Governor and General Assembly allocate $50 million in the fiscal year 2019 budget to the SLAF, which will allow localities throughout the Commonwealth to implement urban stormwater management practices as described in Virginia’s Watershed Implementation Plan. These funds will also assist localities to meet costly state and federal stormwater permit requirements. The City is grateful to the General Assembly for creating the SLAF and appropriating $20 million in FY2017 for the fund. The purpose of the fund is to provide matching grants to local governments implementing best management practices that cost effectively reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff. The City was fortunate to be awarded $1.25 million in FY2014 for the Washington Manor Outfall project in the Deep Creek area of the City; $412,000 in FY2015 for a wetlands bench project on Yadkin Road ($74,500) and the 22nd Street wet pond ($337,500); and $1.7 million in FY2017 for the New Mill Regional BMP ($1,022,975) and the Meads Court Regional BMP ($684,228).
NUTRIENT ALLOCATIONS CURRENTLY ASSIGNED TO EXISTING MUNICIPAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS
The City opposes legislation which would restrict or limit nutrient and sediment trading between sectors as currently allowed, including between MS4 (Stormwater), Wastewater, and Agriculture. In order to meet the goals set out in the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, localities need all available cost-effective options to reduce nutrient and sediment loads, as well as regulatory certainty for planning and funding.
The implications are that this concept is a serious threat to localities, especially in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Adverse consequences could include:
- Disruption of major recent local wastewater treatment investments made to comply with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL over the past 5-10 years;
- Stranding of existing constructed treatment capacity and associated loss of capacity of local growth and economic development;
- New, extremely stringent, and costly treatment over and above EPA Chesapeake Bay TMDL levels;
- Disruption of existing or planning nutrient trades between or among wastewater facilities and or municipal separate storm sewer systems;
- A precedent for potentially taking away water supply (withdrawal capacity) from existing water suppliers to transfer to new facilities where the source is already fully allocated.
Posted : Feb. 14, 2019