Amidst a vast public outcry and continuing controversy over Albemarle County’s proposed Rain Tax, White Hall District Supervisor, Ann Mallek has rescinded her support for the stormwater utility mechanism of funding.
Previously a leading voice in favor of the broadly disdained proposal, Ms. Mallek signaled her reversal in a March 26 email dispatch (see below) to “folks who had written emails about stormwater.” Mallek’s change-of-heart followed an embarrassment inducing “tractor rally” of protesting farmers at her March 24 town hall meeting—and the publication of a No Rain Tax web site containing a petition opposing the tax.
Pressure is mounting on other supervisors as the public campaign to kill the Rain Tax intensifies. Liz Palmer (Samuel Miller District) and Norman Dill (Rivanna District), recently have made public statements that indicate a softening position on the unpopular scheme, while Diantha McKeel (Jack Jouett District) and Ned Gallaway (Rio District) have remained steadfast in their support.
Concerned citizens are set to rally at the April 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, where the Rain Tax may be discussed further.
Read the full text of Supervisor Ann Mallek’s newfound opposition to the Rain Tax:
From: Ann Mallek
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2018 10:47:03 PM
Subject: stormwater update
I wanted to share with you what I am sending to folks who had written emails about stormwater.
After two years thinking about this, and hundreds of interactions with landowners about this, I am no longer in support of pursuing the utility process for funding our water infrastructure improvements. I am a deliberative learner and it has taken me longer than many wanted for me to come to this conclusion.
It has become abundantly clear that the rural residents would be paying more for services received than those who live in the urban area. While I think staff did the research asked of them by the board, it was to provide us enough information to make a truly informed decision. I was so hopeful that the effort involved with the utility would be outweighed by the improved fairness of the process and the enhanced stewardship the credits and encouragement would bring. I do not think those concepts are reality any more.
This topic will be discussed by the board of supervisors at the April 11 meeting. I think the agenda time is 3 pm. This is an information session. If there is still majority support for continuing any utility process, there will be an evening public hearing, likely in the summer and definitely well advertised.
The board would always decide annually about priority projects and funding levels in either process, but the complexity of the utility and the resultant confusion plus my inability to persuasively explain what rural residents would achieve for their investment has brought me to this conclusion. Tune in on April 11 to hear more.