Water announcement expected

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, July 9, 2009

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim is expected to announce Friday his city will sell water to Suffolk and Isle of Wight County.

A cryptic news release issued Thursday afternoon by Norfolk’s Department of Utilities stated, “Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim will make an important announcement about regional cooperation and future sustainability for the City of Suffolk and Isle of Wight County.”

Suffolk city officials are keeping mum on the issue. Spokeswoman Debbie George declined to comment and Councilman Joseph Barlow was nearly as mysterious as the press release in his comments.

“We’ve been working on it for a good while,” he said. “We decided to have a press conference all at one time.”

Barlow said talks have been going on for several years.

Councilman Robert Barclay confirmed Norfolk will be selling water to the Western Tidewater Water Authority, which includes Suffolk and Isle of Wight. He declined to elaborate, however, because the details were discussed in closed session.

The announcement will be made at 1 p.m. Friday at TowneBank Fountain Park, next to the Waterside mall in Norfolk. Fraim, Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson and Isle of Wight County Chairman James B. Brown Jr. are expected to attend.