For the second time in four weeks, a Prince William County Circut Court judge has thrown out a suit by county residents seeking to dismantle a newly created county water and sewer authority.
Members of the Taxpayers Association for Prudent Spending sought to dismantle the agency, according to spokesman Claude V. Bradshaw, because county supervisors had not estimated the cost of the authority before approving it in January.
Last Friday, Circuit Court Judge Selwyn Smith once again sided with county attorneys, who argued that failing to estimate costs did not violate state law. He had dismissed an earlier version of the group's complaint after a hearing Feb. 18.
Meanwhile, county supervisors revealed last week that the county has had to pay $31,866 in legal fees just to defend the new authority, which regulates water and sewer services.
Supervisor Donald Kidwell, representing the Woodbridge District, said the fees were charged by the Fairfax County law firm of Boothe, Pritchard and Dudley, which the county retained because it specializes in establishing water authorities.
Kidwell said the firm's final tab for consultation, research and work done in relation to the taxpayers' lawsuit has totaled more than the county anticipated. But he said the private lawyers had done a good job and were not to blame for the suit.
"They the taxpayer's association are the biggest bunch of jokesters I have ever run into," said Kidwell. "They would have brought that suit against us if God was our general counsel."
Kidwell and board Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt both said they think the suit against the authority was politically motivated by residents who want to create an issue in an election year. All seven supervisor seats are up for election this fall.
"Those instigators are all candidates or would-be candidates," Kidwell said last week.
Although Bradshaw denied he is a candidate for county office, he did say that other people associated with the suit may seek election.
Attorney J. Allen Walker, who has been paid $500 by the association to represent them in the court challenges, said his clients have not decided whether to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.