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Virginia, Hampton and others yet to agree on Fort Monroe bill
By David Macaulay, firstname.lastname@example.org | 757-247-7838
HAMPTON – On the day of the submission of new legislation to the Virginia General Assembly about the future of Fort Monroe, the City of Hampton, the Fort Monroe Authority and the state are yet to reach agreement on the bill.
The bill is due to be submitted today but the executive of the Fort Monroe Authority will meet to discuss it on Friday afternoon. Amendments are possible after Wednesday.
Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting told the Wednesday work session of the City Council: "We are working to get the parties in alignment around one bill. I think we are making progress."
"We have not yet reached a bill that all three of us can endorse," Bunting said.
Bunting acknowledged the fact agreement between the parties would help the chances of the bill passing through the General Assembly.
The city manager referred to "other issues at play that I am not willing to disclose because we are under negotiations."
Under the new legislation the state would reimburse the city for services it provides to future residents of Fort Monroe, after the Army vacates in September.
Bunting also said the sewer system at Fort Monroe is not up to standard and the city should not be responsible for paying for the upgrade.
"We will not accept those systems into out inventory until they are up to standard," said Bunting.
The city has spearheaded a move for land at Fort Monroe to be transferred to the National Park Service, if the NPS shows an interest and the move is backed by Congress.
"NPS strongly believes it's important to have ownership of the property as opposed to a leasehold interest,' Bunting said.
The FMA backed the city's stance on a sale of parts of Monroe to the NPS last week.
Mayor Molly Joseph Ward said she was excited to see the recent letter from US Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner.
Ward said the letter is a "huge step in the right direction." She pledged to work for a National Park at Fort Monroe.
The issue of land sales at Monroe has been raised in the discussions. Steve Owens, of the attorney general's office, has suggested a revision to the legislation that would remove the requirement of the General Assembly to back land sales, leaving the requirement with the Governor alone.
Ward said there are "severe concerns" about the current financial model in relation to the expenses and whether the revenue from leaseholds will be sufficient.
She said land sales at Fort Monroe would be subject to severe restrictions to safeguard the character of Fort Monroe.
See the Hampton Matters blog at dailypress/hamptonmatters.com