TMWA to look at rate hike and new construction fee
The Truckee Meadows Water Authority
at an all-day strategic planning meeting next
month will discuss its five-year financial
forecast, including a possible connection fee
for new construction.
TMWA also is considering a rate
increase, according to participants in a meeting
of the TMWA’s technical advisory committee
held late last month.
“TMWA basically adopted all of Sierra
Pacific’s rules and regulations,” when it took
over the water system from the power company
a year ago, said John Erwin, manager of
water resources at TMWA in Reno. “Much
of the way we recover costs is through usage
charges and that doesn’t capture the costs of
building new storage tanks, etc.”
Currently, all ratepayers including
those in growth areas pay equally for the
costs of new facilities.
To remedy that, the TMWA is considering
charging a connection fee for new construction
as a way to handle growth in the
region.Tentative estimates of the fee will be
discussed at the public meeting Oct. 9.
In addition,TMWA may raise rates,
possibly by 3.5 percent, though Erwin
warned that the exact percentage has not
been determined. The focus of that rate
increase, which wouldn’t take effect until
after June 2003, would likely be on existing
flat-rate customers as way to induce them to
move to water meters.
The TMWA was formed last June
when Sierra Pacific sold the water system
to Reno, Sparks and Washoe County governments.
At the time,TMWA promised
not to raise rates for at least two years.
The TMWA is also looking at ways to
cut costs to minimize the rate increases. One
option is to provide untreated water, rather
than potable water, to customers with large
turf areas for the watering of those lawns.
The customers now being considered for
that are the Washoe County School
District, Reno High School and Idlewild
Park, which is close to Reno High.
Also in October,TMWA will submit its
annual financial report to the board for
approval. Preliminary results showed that
revenues are $350,000, or 1 percent, under
budget, while operating expenses are $1.90
million, or 5 percent, under budget, resulting
in an operating income of $1.55 million, or
8 percent, above budget.
The report said: “The primary reason for
the higher than expected operating income
is depreciation expense, which was
$1,390,000 under budget.”
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