WATER WAR: City Appeals; Fairfax Water Seeks Dismissal
By GEORGE BROMLEY
Falls Church Times Staff
January 22, 2010
Yesterday saw a flurry of activity in the ongoing litigation between the City of Falls Church and the Fairfax County Water Authority (FCWA).
The City petitioned Chief Justice Leroy R. Roy Hassell, Sr. to stay the January 6 ruling of Fairfax Circuit Court Judge R. Terrence Ney and to refer its petition to the Virginia Supreme Court for additional briefing. In the absence of a stay, Falls Church requests Justice Hassell to refer its appeal to the full Court for expedited consideration.
Fairfax Water concurrently filed an opposition brief in Circuit Court in response to the City’s motions of January 13, which requested the Court to clarify or alter its ruling, stay the decree, and order FCWA to post a bond.
Falls Church’s appeal states that the Circuit Court’s injunctions “threaten irreparable harm to the City and its citizens and employees.” The City contends that the order to return the already completed transfer of FY 2009 water fund suprluses would impair its bond rating and force it to significantly increase tax rates. Falls Church also argues that the injunction against future fund transfers “would wreak even greater economic havoc, resulting in a substantial reduction in general fund revenues, layoffs of City employees, and termination of City services.”
Fairfax Water’s brief contends that the city should not be allowed to retain the FY 2009 water funds surplus, which it transferred after the September trial but prior to Judge Ney’s ruling. FCWA also argues that the judge’s order should not be suspended pending the appeal and that the Authority should not be required to post a $4.4 million bond that duplicates existing water funds surpluses.
A hearing on the case will be held in Fairfax Circuit Court on Wednesday, January 27. Trial is scheduled to begin on three other counts on Monday, February 1.
UPDATE – 4:50 pm: On Friday, January 22, Fairfax Water filed a motion to dismiss the City’s appeal. The petition, submitted to the Virginia Supreme Court on grounds of lack of jurisdiction, requests dismissal of Falls Church’s petition for review without prejudice to its right to seek appellate review through the normal appellate channels.
By George Bromley
January 22, 2010