I was thinking about playing a game of What If. You know, a game that asks silly questions to see what kind of answers people come up with.
What would your response be to the question: “What if you found a hundred dollar bill on the floor of a bank?”
Well, let’s play a game of What If.
What if a town subdivision had a privately owned stormwater pond?
What if that pond takes stormwater runoff from VDOT-owned roads in the county and town as well as stormwater runoff from the neighborhood’s privately owned streets that are maintained by the town through a special taxing district?
What if the neighborhood of 73 residential taxpayers were required to financially maintain that pond, without any support from the town or state?
What if VDOT hooked into stormwater pipes to take all that stormwater from its roads near the subdivirion in the county and town?
What if VDOT connected to those pipes without asking permission or consulting the neighborhood that owns the pond?
What if after being notified about and listening to the neighborhood’s concerns that a VDOT representative said, “Sue us.”
What if the town was notified about the concerns since part of the roadway, although owned by VDOT, is maintained by the town and the town pointed the finger at VDOT citing some obscure regulation?
What if the developer made the pond larger than needed but no mention was made of taking off-site stormwater?
What if some town council members came to view the problem, while others refused?
What if a town council committee listened to the neighborhood’s problem and then directed the mayor to send a letter saying it would not consider the matter any further?
What if the subdivision reached out to its delegate and state senator with a packet of pictures, emails and detailed information?
What if the state senator professed interest and listened intently, even to the point of saying he had similar issues in his district?
What if the state senator said he would look into it but never responded to additional emails or phone calls about the situation?
What if the state senator was running for a statewide office while taxpayers in the subdivision waited to hear from him?
What if the delegate came out several times to view the issue, arranged a meeting with VDOT, had his staff stay in constant contact with the subdivision’s representatives, had conversations with VDOT and even entered legislation at the last session of the Virginia General Assembly?
What if the delegate asked the Virginia Attorney General to issue an opinion about the state using private property for its own use with any financial responsibility or permission from the private property owners?
What if the attorney general’s office said it would not research the issue or issue an opinion due to potential litigation?
What if that potential litigation issue was actually the statement by a VDOT representative urging the subdivision to sue VDOT not a threat by the neighborhood to sue VDOT?
What if a house subcommittee was set to discuss the potential legislation that would provide some relief for those taxpayers required to maintain the private pond being used by the state?
What if VDOT employees, who are paid by taxpayers – including those who own the pond and live in the neighborhood – lobbied elected officials also paid by tax dollars to kill the bill as it might cost too much?
What if the subcommittee killed the bill by a 7-0 vote without discussion?
What if the homeowners received an inquiry from the town about trimming the pond to meet a local ordinance requirement, even though state government is using the pond for its own purposes and providing no financial assistance for its maintenance?
What if the delegate won’t give up and once again files legislation in the upcoming session of the general assembly?
Of course, none of this could really happen in Culpeper or anywhere else. Right?
After all, this is just a game of What If.