Marian Agnew of McLean, a local environmentalist, has filed suit to obtain a copy of a sewer rate increase study the county ordered done last year, claiming that the county is considering sewer rate increases "dramatically higher" than the study proposes.
Agnew, who filed the suit under the Freedom of Information Act last week in Fairfax Circuit Court, claims that the county has revised the proposal for sewer rate increases done by a New York-based engineering consulting firm, Alexander Potter.
County Attorney Lee Ruck, who denied Agnew's request for the Potter study, said the report was not released because it is in draft form.
"I would hardly call the report unpublished," said Fairfax County Board member Audrey Moore, who is supporting Agnew's attempts to gain access to the report. "It was a bound volume and should be made available."
Moore requested the board last Monday to allow her to obtain a copy of the report. The board is expected to decide on her request Monday.
Moore said she also will file suit next week to gain access to the report if the board does not allow her to have the report.
Agnew says her calculations indicate that Potter's report probably proposes a 12-cent increase for each 1,000 gallons of sewer water used, but that the "county has revised the proposal dramatically higher without explaining the reasons for the very substantial increase."
The current sewer service charge is 95 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used. A typical household uses 96,000 gallons of sewer water per year for an average yearly bill of $91.20.
County Executive Leonard Whorton has said that some sort of sewer charge increase will be needed, but how much is still to be determined.
Agnew says that figures released by Whorton in June showed that the sewer service charge could rise as highas $1.39 per 1,000 gallons, for an average annual household sewer bill of $133.44, a 46 per cent increase over current bills.