The Clean Water Services' Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 20 to consider the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which would increase sewer and Surface Water Management (SWM) rates by 3.54 percent or $1.76 per month for the average residential customer in urban Washington County. The proposed budget funds CWS operations and $79.4 million of investments to protect public health, the environment and clean water in the Tualatin River Watershed. On May 5, the Clean Water Services' Budget Committee met to review the budget, receive public comment and recommended the proposed budget to the Board for adoption.
Public comment is welcome when the Board of Directors meets for a public hearing during their regular meeting beginning at 10 am on Tuesday, June 20 at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E. Main Street in Hillsboro. The complete budget is available for review on Clean Water Services website at cleanwaterservices.org/budget.
Clean Water Services' draft budget includes two proposed rate increases, which would be effective July 1, 2017:
The combined average monthly residential bill would increase $1.76 or 3.54 percent to $51.52 from $49.76.
Clean Water Services' Board of Directors sets the districtwide sanitary sewer and SWM rates for urban Washington County customers. Washington County Cities adopt the rates and have the ability to add local surcharges to meet additional local needs. The rate income is shared proportionally between Clean Water Services and its member Cities. The utility fees protect clean water and the Tualatin River and its tributaries through innovative wastewater treatment and stormwater management for more than 570,000 people in urban Washington County.
The rate increases are necessary to expand, replace and upgrade aging infrastructure; to fund operations and maintenance of the public drainage system; and to meet some of the most stringent state and federal pollution control requirements in the nation.
"Despite a growing customer base and increased costs, we have been able to hold rate increases down by utilizing new technologies and developing partnerships with public, private and community partners," said General Manager Bill Gaffi. "The community's investment is paying off for our ratepayers and the environment—studies show the Tualatin River is healthier today than it's been in generations, and we're able to deliver these services at some of the most reasonable rates in the region."
Clean Water Services' Proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 Budget includes the following major components: $70.5 million for operating expenses; $79.4 million for capital construction; and $22 million for debt service on bonds that help pay for past, current and planned water infrastructure system investments. Primary revenues include $137.4 million from sewer and surface water rates and $24.9 million from System Development Charges (SDCs). SDCs are one-time charges for connecting to the public sewer and stormwater system.
Clean Water Services has worked to reduce the long-term operating costs of the utility by using new technology and reorganizing the workforce. Despite increasingly stringent state and federal pollution control requirements and a growing population, Clean Water Services has reduced the number of employees per customer served from a high of nine employees per 10,000 residents in 1998 to less than six employees per 10,000 today. The proposed operating budget increased 4.4 percent and adds 13 full time positions, increasing the number of employees to 351 from 338.
Capital construction is funded by rates, SDCs and bond proceeds. To ensure new development pays a reasonable share of capital costs related to growth, the CWS is also recommending a $200 (4 percent) increase in the one-time sanitary sewer SDC connection fee. The sanitary sewer SDC would increase to $5,500 from $5,300 per EDU. The SWM SDC would increase to $530 from $510 per unit.
The proposed capital budget includes $79.4 million to upgrade, replace and expand aging infrastructure, and improve water quality in the Tualatin River and its tributaries. Major investments include:
Everything we do at Clean Water Services aims to protect public health, while enhancing the natural environment. Combining science and nature, we clean water and return it to the Tualatin River, so it can be used again. More than 570,000 customers enjoy clean water and healthy rivers and streams as a result of our innovative water management solutions, drainage management, water-quality and stream-enhancement projects, habitat protection and more.
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Government & Public Affairs Manager
Clean Water Services