Bill would overhaul SPSA board

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A bill giving the governor authority to appoint board members of the troubled Southeastern Public Service Authority has passed both General Assembly chambers after a unanimous vote in the Senate Monday.

The bill, which awaits Gov. Tim Kaine’s signature, states that each of SPSA’s eight member localities, including Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County, would nominate three candidates, none of whom could be an elected official. After selection, a board member would be limited to serving a four-year term.

SPSA, which also serves Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk, must find a way to reduce or restructure its $240 million debt or it will have to cease operations by April 1, according to agency officials.

On Wednesday, the board will hear a presentation by Wheelabrator Technologies, a New Hampshire firm looking to buy SPSA’s assets and take over its operations.

Though such a purchase may solve SPSA’s long-term woes, Barry Cheatham, Franklin’s current SPSA board delegate, warned it might not be enough to save operations in the short term.

Franklin officials are encouraging citizens to attend the meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the SPSA headquarters, 723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake.

For more on this story, read Wednesday’s print edition of The Tidewater News.