Wastewater management team soon to have first meeting

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FRANKLIN—As part of its agreement with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Franklin and Southampton County governments have appointed a management team to its feasibility study for shared wastewater.

This past month, the city and county started hosting public forums on the study, and from there the two entities were charged with creating a management team built up of key community stakeholders. That management team would draft a request for proposal seeking a consultant to study the possibility of sharing the utility service.

Once those tasks are accomplished, the VDHCD has earmarked $40,000 in state funds for the study.

Serving on the management team from Southampton County are Bruce Phillips of the board of supervisors, and Randolph Cook and Nick Kitchen as citizen representatives. From the City of Franklin, councilperson Benny Burgess as well as citizen representatives David Crear and Tom Jones will be on the team.

Other team members include County Administrator Michael Johnson, Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Amanda Jarratt, City Manager Randy Martin, and representing the Hampton Roads Planning Commission is Whitney Katchmark.

Representing the utility side will be Dennis Beale, Julien Johnson, Russ Pace and Donnie Cagle. Community development Director Donald Coodwin and Co-Director Beth Lewis will round out the list.

“It is good to have people with those kind of backgrounds,” Martin said. “I think we’ve got a good cross section of people. We’ve got someone with an engineering background, and people who have technical knowledge of public utilities, and we’ve got some good representatives from the city and county.”

“I know most of the people,” added Michael Johnson. “I think it is a good group, and I look forward to working with them.”

Their first meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17. At that meeting, the team will discuss the request for proposal. Before the meeting, Johnson said, they will distribute a draft to team members, and during the meeting the team will go over the language.

Some time following the meeting, the committee will put out its request for proposal, and they will receive responses from qualified firms.

The team will whittle down the candidate firms until they hire a team to do the study. Martin estimates that in 60-90 days, the contract would be awarded.

And after six to nine months, Johnson anticipated, the study will be complete, though he added he won’t know for certain until he receives the proposals back. Martin said during those months, additional public meetings will take place about this process.