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Clean Water Services' Budget Committee to Review Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget

Hillsboro, OR

The Clean Water Services’ Budget Committee will meet on Friday, May 3 to consider the proposed Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget (PDF, 4.3MB), which would increase sewer and Surface Water Management (SWM) rates by 3.47 percent, or $1.85 per month for the average residential customer in urban Washington County. The proposed budget funds CWS operations and $112 million of investments to protect public health, the environment and clean water in the Tualatin River Watershed.

Public comment is welcome when the Budget Committee meets, beginning at 9 am Friday, May 3, at Clean Water Services' Administrative Building Complex, 2550 SW Hillsboro Highway. The Budget Committee is comprised of five citizens and the five members of Clean Water Services' Board of Directors. The Committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Directors for consideration at a Public Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 18, at 10 am at the Public Services Building, 155 N. First Avenue in Hillsboro. Learn more about the proposed rates at cleanwaterservices.org/budget. Materials to be discussed by the Budget Committee include:

Clean Water Services' draft budget includes two proposed rate increases, which would be effective July 1, 2019:

  • Sanitary sewer: A proposed three percent rate increase, which would add $1.35 a month to the average residential sewer charge.
  • SWM: A proposed six percent rate increase, which would add $0.50 per month to the average residential stormwater charge.

The combined average monthly residential bill would increase $1.85 or 3.47 percent to $55.20 from $53.35. 

Clean Water Services' Board of Directors sets the regional portion of the sanitary sewer rate and the SWM rate for urban Washington County customers. Washington County cities set and retain the local portion of the sanitary sewer rate. The SWM rate income is shared proportionally between Clean Water Services and its member cities. To meet additional local needs, the cities may add and retain a surcharge or franchise fee to their local sanitary sewer rate and the regional SWM rate. The utility fees protect public health, clean water and the Tualatin River and its tributaries for more than 600,000 people in urban Washington County.

We plan for the key challenges that face our sensitive river and dynamic region, including water supply and security, variable weather patterns, increasing regulatory requirements, urban growth and aging infrastructure. As our region grows and technology advances, we can no longer afford to view used water as waste to be disposed of, but rather as a resource to be recovered. We embrace our new role as leaders in a fully circular water economy. We recover resources like clean water, fertilizer and energy. That is why we now refer to our treatment plants as resource recovery facilities.

"CWS keeps rate increases reasonable, predictable and transparent,” said CEO Diane Taniguchi-Dennis. “The Tualatin River Watershed continues to appeal as a place to invest, live, work and play due to our partnerships in sound planning, investment and stewardship in regional assets.”

Clean Water Services' Proposed Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget includes the following major components: $77.5 million for operating expenses; $112 million for capital construction; and $20 million for debt service on bonds that help pay for past, current and planned water infrastructure system investments. Primary revenues include $148.6 million from sewer and surface water rates and $19.8 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. To continue excellence in operations and maintenance with an increased population and regulatory requirements, the proposed operating budget rose 4.4 percent and adds 16 full-time positions. “A highly-skilled technical team ensures we can reliably meet the evolving needs of our basin, a growing region and new regulations,” explained Taniguchi-Dennis.

Capital construction is funded by rates, SDCs and bond proceeds. To ensure new development pays a reasonable share of capital costs related to growth, CWS is also recommending a $150 (2.7 percent) increase in the one-time sanitary sewer SDC connection fee. The sanitary sewer SDC would increase to $5,800 from $5,650 per EDU. The SWM SDC would increase to $560 from $545 per ESU.

The proposed capital budget includes $112 million to upgrade, replace and expand aging infrastructure, and improve water quality in the Tualatin River and its tributaries. Major investments include:

  • $53.5 million to upgrade and expand Clean Water Services' four resource recovery facilities and 42 sewage pump stations
  • $30.7 million to expand, repair or replace the sanitary sewer collection system
  • $15.9 million to restore flow to the Tualatin River and its tributaries and plant large-scale stream and wetland restoration projects to shade the water, control erosion and filter pollutants
  • $5.06 million to build stormwater projects to control pollution and improve local drainage and replace equipment that helps protect water quality in local streams and the Tualatin River.

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 600,000 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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Contacts

Mark Jockers
Government & Public Affairs Director
Clean Water Services
503.681.4450 (o)
503.701.4293 (m)
jockersm@cleanwaterservices.org

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