Includes 6% revenue increase, launch of Customer Assistance Program
LAUREL, MD – June 30, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — WSSC’s Fiscal 2016 (FY16) operating and capital budget of $1.4 billion goes into effect on July 1, focusing on the continued rehabilitation of water and sewer pipelines in WSSC’s system. The new budget includes a 6 percent revenue increase as well as fee increases, which will add approximately $12.60 to the typical customer quarterly bill, which is about $4.20 per month.
“This budget reflects our mission of delivering clean water to our customers, and treating wastewater in order to maintain and enhance our environment,” said Jerry N. Johnson, GM/CEO for WSSC. “We are meeting our goals of replacing 55 miles of small water mains each year and repairing and replacing sewer pipelines to meet our Consent Decree obligations. And, as we move forward, the new bill structure we are introducing will provide more predictability for our customers and we expect our usage fees to be less volatile.”
The FY16 Operating Budget increased by $7.9 million to a total of $715.1 million representing a 1.1 percent increase. Water and sewer debt service and the expansion of the Large Valve Program were the primary drivers for the increase. The FY16 Capital Budget increases by $55.5 million, representing an 8.9 percent increase to a total of $680.9 million. Construction of extensive roads, by-pass pumping and stream stabilization to complete the federally mandated Consent Decree construction and upgrading sewer pipelines played a major role in the budget increase.
The budget includes a 1 percent water usage rate increase, as well as changes in two quarterly fees which customers will see on their bill: the existing Account Maintenance Fee (AMF) increases from $11 to $16, the first increase in 25 years. The additional Infrastructure Investment Fee averages $6. These fees are components of the Ready to Serve Charge.
The increase in the Account Maintenance Fee reflects the cost to bring water to every home and business; including meters, meter readers, and billing. The Infrastructure Investment Fee enables funding to be focused exclusively on repairing and replacing WSSC’s aging infrastructure.
Recognizing that rates have risen steadily over the last decade, WSSC is also implementing a Customer Assistance Program (CAP). Customers who are enrolled in the Office of Home Energy Program (OHEP) may also qualify for assistance with their WSSC bill. For more information, visit www.wsscwater.com/CAP(See separate news release dated June 30, 2015).
“Reaching this point has taken a long time and a lot of effort,” says Johnson. ”I want to thank the state and local elected officials and their staffs who have worked with us on this budget. It helps ensure that our infrastructure will be able to provide water to our customers in the future, while assisting those who can least afford higher costs.”
Established in 1918, today WSSC is among the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation. We proudly serve the 1.8 million residents of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, providing life’s most precious resource. WSSC drinking water has always met or exceeded federal standards