Clean Water News & Stories

Practical, Proactive, People-Centered: Our Blessedly Boring Budget 

Let’s take a little dive into something gloriously unglamorous — budgeting. Drama and excitement can be fun, but not when it comes to budget and rates planning. You want to know the folks tasked with tackling our region’s long-term water challenges are being as clear-eyed and careful with your hard-earned rate dollars as they are when protecting public health and the environment. 

Nobody enjoys paying more. But we all know costs rise regularly — and lately they’ve been doing so dramatically. The utilities that provide your essential services are no more immune to cost increases than your household is. It’s not cheap to clean the water that leaves your home (just think about what you flush!), get the rain that falls in our communities to flow where it needs to go, and ensure the uniquely challenging Tualatin River is clean and healthy and able to meet our region’s agricultural, residential, industrial, and recreational needs. 

We do a lot to keep those costs in check, like recovering valuable resources from your used water, working in partnership to share the load and increase impacts, and planning ahead for the region as our population grows and our climate becomes more extreme and unpredictable. 

Our proposed Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Budget includes a 4% rate increase, meaning the average household billed by CWS would pay $2.44 more per month. We know the current economic reality is tough for most of us, and that it’s a time to really focus on being practical, pragmatic, and strategic. 

A Living Community

Part of being practical is investing in the systems that serve you so we can continue protecting public health and the environment 24/7 in the uncertain decades ahead. Our finances and budget are set up in a way that allows us to spread the cost of investments over their useful lifespan. This means you aren’t footing the entire bill now as we build or upgrade resources that will also benefit the people and industries that do not yet call Washington County home. 

To serve our growing community we must maintain our collection system and treatment facilities, invest in infrastructure renewal and replacement, hire and retain talented employees, adapt to climate change, and meet stricter environmental requirements. Every investment we make is building toward a long-term solution. We are dedicated to keeping rates reasonable and predictable and providing value for you through a livable community. 

Budgeting may not be the most thrilling topic, but we’re thrilled about how it will allow us to continue protecting your health and that of our watershed well into the future. Explore our proposed Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget to see how. 

You Are Invited and Encouraged to Participate in the Budget Process

Any approved changes to your rates would go into effect July 1, 2023. Customers are always invited and encouraged to take part in the budget process. On Friday, May 5, 2023, the CWS Budget Committee will review the proposed budget, consider approval, and make their recommendations to the CWS Board of Directors. On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the CWS Board of Directors will conduct a public hearing to consider and adopt the budget. Learn more about our budget and how to participate in or watch these public hearings.

An Aerial view of Butternut Creek, a tributary to the Tualatin River, with heavy vegetation along the banks of the creek and houses backing up to the water.