Town Incorporation of Massanutten

4.4 – Comparison of Localities – Infrastructure

Six (6) Rockingham County towns have road maintenance departments. They each have various levels of funding dependent largely on their sources of funding — some are solely funded by taxes, some receive direct VDOT funding assistance, and some receive indirect non-funding VDOT assistance with road maintenance. Three towns are eligible to receive direct funding assistance from VDOT through the Urban Maintenance Program. They are Bridgewater, Elkton and Grottoes — where the former qualifies based on population and the latter two towns are eligible based on laws in effect on June 30, 1985. Broadway’s qualifying roads are currently maintained by VDOT. But, Broadway also surpassed the 3,500 population requirements in the 2010 Census and will receive direct funding from the VDOT Urban Maintenance Program in the future.

The table below compares the road funding and lane mileage for the six (6) towns in Rockingham County. The lane mileage was only available for those towns in the VDOT Urban Maintenance Program in FY2010. Included in this table is also the estimated road funding and lane mileage for Massanutten Village (as a CDP) and an incorporated town of Massanutten. From the table, one can see the comparative lane mileage of the towns where an incorporated town of Massanutten would have nearly double than that of other towns. Also, from the table, one can see the comparative VDOT funding of the towns through the VDOT Urban Maintenance Program, where an incorporated town of Massanutten could also receive nearly double that of other towns. The VDOT funding is directly related to the lane mileage based on the formula delineated in the last subsection.

Virginia Locality Population
(2010 Census)
Town Lane Mileage Town Budget for Roads VDOT Funding Urban Maintenance
Town of Bridgewater 5,644 51.1 $671,000 $579,585
Town of Broadway 3,691 not available $46,500 $0
Town of Dayton 1,530 not available $488,500 $0
Town of Elkton 2,726 35.7 $348,764 $350,390
Town of Grottoes 2,668 38.5 $420,425 $420,425
Town of Timberville 2,522 not available $99,724 $0
City of Harrisonburg 48,914 316.3 $4,489,017 $3,761,030
Massanutten (CDP) 2,291 52 $571,607 $0
*Town of Massanutten* *2,400* *64.4* *$875,000* *$750,000*
Town of Altavista 3,450 38.3 $434,300 $386,635
Town of Lebanon 3,425 47.4 not available $477,619
Town of Wise 3,286 19.3 not available $194,578

The towns of Altavista, Lebanon, and Wise have also been included in the table. Their populations were below the qualifying requirement of 3,500, after being granted a special exemption in 1990 by the Virginia General Assembly in VA Code 33.1-23.3 to be eligible for the VDOT Urban Maintenance Program. An incorporated town of Massanutten would need a similar exemption from the General Assembly because the town does not meet the qualifying population requirement of 3,500 based on the 2010 Census.

Six (6) Rockingham County towns provide community water and sewerage services to their town citizens and businesses. These services are separate from Rockingham County which provides community water and sewerage services to the majority (not all) of county citizens and businesses. The rates charged for these services are shown in the table below based on 5,000 gallons of usage. The city of Harrisonburg and the overall VA average rates are also included for comparative purposes.

Virginia Locality Population
(2010 Census)
Water Costs (5,000 gallons) Sewer Costs (5,000 gallons) Total Costs
(5,000 gallons)
Town of Bridgewater 5,644 $19.70 $25.55 $45.25
Town of Broadway 3,691 $18.46 $19.61 $38.07
Town of Dayton 1,530 $16.20 $22.55 $38.75
Town of Elkton 2,726 not available not available -
Town of Grottoes 2,668 $17.02 $22.78 $39.80
Town of Timberville 2,522 $21.63 $29.10 $50.73
Massanutten (CDP) 2,291 $47.70 $48.35 $96.05
City of Harrisonburg 48,914 $12.33 $24.65 $36.98
County of Rockingham 76,314 $15.21 $25.45 $40.66
VA Average $37.50 $35.23 $72.73

As previously discussed, the community of Massanutten is served by a private water and sewerage service provided by Massanutten Public Service Corporation (MPSC). The VA State Corporation Commission (SCC) authorized MPSC to increase rates in July 2007 and July 2010 that roughly doubled rates to the average Massanutten property owner. This SCC authorized increase was over the strong objections of the Massanutten Property Owners Association (MPOA) — which seemed, as a private corporation, to have only limited success in preventing the rate increases by another private corporation (MPSC). The rate increases resulted in MPSC rates being more than two times that paid by citizens in Rockingham County for a 5,000 gallon per month usage, as shown in the table above. It should be noted that the MPSC rates are, in fact, more than 32% above the VA average. If Massanutten incorporated into a town, its duly elected Town Mayor and Town Council will be legally recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to include the VA SCC. Undoubtedly, a duly elected Town Mayor and Town Council Members would have greater success in preventing any future MPSC rate hikes that came before the VA SCC. Furthermore, Town officials may even have the option to execute eminent domain over the MPSC system leveraging VA municipal bonds to buy MPSC assets at a fair market value, thus allowing the town to run the water and sewerage service on behalf of its citizens (less the profit margin added by MPSC).