WSSC FY ’16 Budget Approved by Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties
Budget Includes 6% Revenue Increase and $1.7 Million for Implementation of a Customer Assistance Program
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laurel – May 8, 2015 – Montgomery and Prince George’s County councils met yesterday and voted to approve WSSC’s Fiscal 2016 (FY16) operating and capital budget of $1.4 billion. The FY16 budget will focus on the continued rehabilitation of water and sewer pipeline in WSSC’s system. The new budget also includes a 6 percent revenue increase, which will add approximately $4.20 per month to the average customer bill.
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 was increased 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 an increase to the Ready to Serve fee comprised of the Account Maintenance Fee (AMF), which has not increased in 25 years, and a new fixed, infrastructure renewal component. In addition, customers will see a 1 percent increase in their water usage rate. Customers will see these changes reflected on their bills beginning July 1.
“We are diligently working to upgrade the infrastructure required to deliver quality water to our customers, as well as protect public health,” said Jerry N. Johnson, GM/CEO for WSSC. “Our goal is to replace and repair 55 miles of small water mains each year and to continue the critical Consent Decree work to responsibly rehabilitate the sewer pipelines throughout our system. The fee increase allows WSSC to have more predictability and cash to pay for infrastructure costs. It will also give more predictability to customers and we expect usage fees to be less volatile.”
The increase in fees reflects the cost to bring water to every home and business; including meters, meter readers, and billing as well as funding focused exclusively on repairing and replacing WSSC’s aging infrastructure. The fee does not bring in additional revenue, but rather shifts certain costs from water usage rates to the fixed Ready to Serve Charge.
Recognizing that rates have risen steadily over the last decade, WSSC is also implementing a Customer Assistance Program (CAP). The FY16 budget includes $1.7 million in revenue offset that will allow WSSC to create and begin administering this program. Customers who are eligible for the Maryland Energy Assistance Program will also qualify for assistance with their WSSC bill.
The new budget and rates will take effect July 1, 2015.
Following the meeting, both Councils issued a proclamation honoring the retiring WSSC General Manager/CEO Jerry Johnson for his long and distinguished career in public service, particularly for his contributions to the National Capital Region as head of WSSC and prior to that as General Manager of DC Water (formerly WASA).
“I am surprised and humbled to receive this proclamation and to have served this region,” said Johnson. “I am proud to be of service to WSSC and proud to be part of this organization.’
The Commission has launched a nationwide search for Johnson’s successor.
The Council today also recognized retiring Commissioner Gene Counihan from Montgomery County for his service. County Executive Isiah Leggett will name a successor.
WSSC Water is the proud provider of safe, seamless and satisfying water services, making the essential possible every day for our neighbors in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. We work to deliver our best because it’s what our customers expect and deserve.