The Clean Water Services Budget Committee will meet at 9 am Friday, May 7, to consider the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, which would increase sanitary sewer and Surface Water Management (SWM) rates by 4.6% or $2.57 per month for the average residential customer in urban Washington County. The proposed budget funds CWS operations and $93.6 million of investments to protect public health, the environment and clean water in the Tualatin River Watershed.
Public comment is welcome at the CWS Budget Committee meeting. In an effort to better serve the community during COVID-19, the meeting will be broadcast live on Washington County's YouTube channel. To provide public testimony via Zoom by phone or online, members of the public must register using this form link. The public may also submit questions or comments prior to the budget hearing no later than May 3, 2021, by emailing Kathy Leader.
Under the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, the regional sanitary sewer rate would increase by $2.07 (4.5% ) a month, and the regional SWM fee would increase by $0.50 (5.4%) per month, beginning July 1, 2021, for the average customer.
To ensure new development pays a reasonable share of capital costs related to growth, CWS is also recommending an increase from $5,800 to $6,085 in the one-time sanitary sewer System Development Charge (SDC) per equivalent dwelling unit. SWM SDCs would increase from $560 to $585 per equivalent service unit.
The CWS budget and rates support the work of protecting water resources as we look beyond this pandemic and keep up with changing needs. This requires additional investments in aging infrastructure, ensuring our long-term water supply and meeting stricter federal and state pollution control rules.
Due to the financial stress many families and businesses have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CWS did not raise sanitary sewer and SWM rates in FY 2020-21.
“Clean Water Services has long provided cost-effective and environmentally sensitive management of regional sanitary sewer and surface water management services for the Tualatin River Watershed,” said CEO Diane Taniguchi-Dennis. “Our vision and commitment to providing sustainable, high-value water resource management services at a reasonable cost continues with our Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget. During this unprecedented time, our commitment to providing reliable, cost-effective lifeline public health services to our customers is more important than ever.”
CWS' Proposed Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget includes the following major components: $88.9 million for operating expenses; $93.6 million for capital construction; and $21.7 million for debt service on bonds that help pay for past, current and planned water infrastructure system investments. Primary revenues include $159.3 million from sewer and SWM rates and $15.6 million from SDCs, a one-time assessment charged when customers connect to the CWS system. Capital construction is funded by rates, SDCs and bond proceeds. Major investments within the proposed $93.6 million capital budget include:
CWS' Board of Directors sets the regional portion of the sanitary sewer rate and the SWM rate for urban Washington County customers, which is shared proportionally between CWS and its partner cities.
CWS serves more than 620,000 customers of urban Washington County, and the county is expected to add 74,000 people by 2030. Planning well is essential to meet service needs in an effective and cost-efficient manner.
Part of that planning involves the realignment of people, resources and programs to better position the organization to deliver on key strategic outcomes and respond to future challenges and opportunities. In FY 2020-21, Clean Water Services began changing its structure to build a more resilient, responsive and nimble organization.
In FY 2021-22 CWS is creating two new service-driven departments. The Regional Utilities Services Department will be led by the Chief Utility Relations Officer and will focus on regional governmental relationships and agreements, agreements with large industrial customers and developers, regional community and economic development planning and services, systems planning and integrated planning. The Enterprise Asset & Technical Services department will focus on asset management, providing technical engineering services, designing and maintaining automation and control systems, and managing the maintenance and services for all CWS buildings and facilities.
The Budget Committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Directors for consideration at a Public Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, at 10 a.m. Details on how to participate are available at cleanwaterservices.org/rates. That meeting will also be broadcast live.
For more than 50 years, Clean Water Services has worked 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 620,000 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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Clean Water Services