THE BRISTOL COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY
Increased Water Rates for fiscal year 2014 (beginning March 2013) by 11% across all rate classifications.
This rate increase will result in less than a $4 per month increase to the average residential bill.
The Board has based this revenue increase on the 5 year Strategic Plan requirements:
1. Maintain a secure source of high quality water
The Child St. water treatment plant is to be utilized only for emergency back-up until an alternate supply from Pawtucket Water can be available. Cost reductions on only maintaining the plant and supplies has been incorporated in the 5 year plan, as well as costs for the Pawtucket supply.
Costs of the study for the pipeline and treatment requirements is included in the 2014 budget.
2. Adopt a plan to support long and short term infrastructure needs
A 20 year capital plan was developed (includes 5 and 10 year plans) to maintain water quality and system reliability: cleaning & lining and replacement of water mains, secondary supply, pumping control systems and instrumentation, pump station upgrades, tank mixing systems, water system pressure improvements, equipment to improve operation efficiency, etc.
The FY2014 budget includes $700,000 (cash) and $600,000 (to be bonded) for capital and infrastructure projects.
3. Improve data management systems
Replace obsolete financial and customer service systems with integrated financial work order, data collection and field information systems.
These funds are included in the capital program.
4. Ensure financial stability
Instituted aggressive cost reduction program and rate study to increase revenues.
BCWA created a financial model to reduce future rate increases to a minimum for the next 10 years.
5. Improve customer relations
New initiatives: record Board meetings, improve response to customer issues, improve metering and customer access to information, extend customer service hours.
The 11% increase reflects:
- Utility cost increases (electric, gas, fuel)
- 3 additional positions (from 5 vacant)
- The initiation of the Capital/ Infrastructure Replacement Plan
- Data management system to improve financial, customer service and operations efficiency
- Pension fund obligations
- Post retirement benefit reserve
- Conservation revenue decrease