Water, grants on council’s agenda

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, August 15, 2009

After an unusual five-week hiatus, the Suffolk City Council will be back in session Wednesday evening with a 39-item agenda.

The work session prior to the meeting includes 11 items, though only four are proposed for open session. The work session begins at 3 p.m. (one hour earlier than usual) in Council Chambers, 441 Market St. the regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the same location.

Council is set to hear the public on six different items, discuss four resolutions and an ordinance, and potentially approve a 15-item consent agenda.

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One of the hearings will gather public opinion on the relocation of the Suffolk Voter Registrar’s office from its current location at 425 W. Washington St., Suite 4, to the former human resources building, located at 440 Market St. The move, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice prior to the relocation, is part of the city’s efforts to reduce the amount of money it spends on leases by moving departments from leased into city-owned space.

The meeting also will include discussion of the water agreement between the Western Tidewater Water Authority — which includes Suffolk and Isle of Wight County — and Norfolk. The proposed agreement will allow the water authority to buy up to 15 million gallons per day of raw water from Norfolk’s water sources, an amount will be allocated 75 percent to Suffolk and 25 percent to Isle of Wight County. The initial purchase agreement will allow the authority to purchase up to 3 million gallons per day through 2016, then increase 1 million gallons per day every two years.

Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors put off a decision on the water deal until later this month, effectively putting Suffolk in the position of being first between the two localities to act. Norfolk City Council approved the deal in a July vote.

Also on council’s agenda is a resolution approving the city’s application for a $54 million federal grant to widen Holland Road. The subject of how to pay for the badly-needed work has caused much consternation in recent years, particularly after the approval of a handful of high-profile developments on the road in recent months.