Laurel, Md. – May 11, 2023 – WSSC Water’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget was unanimously approved today by the Montgomery and Prince George’s County Councils at their annual bi-county meeting. The $1.6 billion budget for all operating and capital funds is $144.9 million more than the FY 2023 budget. Major cost drivers include declining water consumption, inflationary increases in chemicals (74%), paving (53%), heat, light and power (46%), construction (6%) and high customer delinquencies. As of May 1, 2023, nearly 90,000 accounts are past due, totaling almost $60 million, the vast majority of which are residential customers. In response to the ongoing financial impact of COVID-19, the FY 2024 budget includes $3.5 million in financial assistance to help customers in need.
“The current economic climate, supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures impacting all Americans are impacting WSSC Water as well,” said WSSC Water Commission Chair Fausto R. Bayonet. “I thank both county councils for approving a budget that will enable WSSC Water to provide needed financial assistance to our customers while continuing our stellar track record of water quality excellence.”
Project highlights of the FY 24 budget include:
- $166.5 million to replace approximately 34 miles of large and small diameter water mains;
- $120.6 million to rehabilitate 35 miles of large and small diameter sewer mains and lateral lines, which is partially funded by state grants from the Bay Restoration Fund;
- $4.4 million to paint four elevated water tanks;
- $3.4 million to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule;
- $2.4 million to invest in cybersecurity efforts; and
- $1.4 million for the acoustic fiber optic system to constantly monitor the integrity of 118 miles of prestressed concrete cylinder pipes.
The budget is based on a 7 percent average rate increase and a 7 percent increase in Account Maintenance and Infrastructure Investment fees. A typical customer with a family of three using 50 gallons of water per person daily would see a quarterly increase of $16.43 in their bill. The rate increase conforms with limits both Montgomery and Prince George’s county councils set when they approved WSSC Water’s Spending Affordability Guidelines. The FY 2024 budget and new rates begin on July 1, 2023. Revenue generated by the new rates will help repair and replace critical water and wastewater infrastructure, which protects public health, creates jobs, safeguards the environment, and supports equity and social justice initiatives.
“As vigilant stewards of the money we receive from our customers, WSSC Water is constantly looking for any way to reduce costs and diversify revenues to take the pressure off customer rates,” said WSSC Water General Manager and CEO Kishia L. Powell. “We are aggressively pursuing all external funding opportunities and have already submitted thirteen applications for federal and state grants and loans totaling more than $889 million to help fund key infrastructure projects.”
Residential Quarterly Water/Sewer Bill Comparison (150 gallons per day)
WSSC Water’s FY 2023 and FY 2024 rates and fees are competitive locally and nationally.
Get Current: Temporary Water Bill Amnesty Program
Given the large number of residential delinquencies, WSSC Water will launch a temporary water bill amnesty program for eligible customers with a delinquent balance as of May 1, 2023. The Get Current program will run the month of June and provides bill credits and 100 percent of late payment charges and turn-on fees waived for customers who qualify. During June, WSSC Water will temporarily suspend residential water service turnoffs to encourage program participation. To learn more about WSSC Water’s Get Current program, eligibility details and to sign up to be notified when it launches on June 1, visit wsscwater.com/getcurrent.
Additional information on WSSC Water’s portfolio of customer assistance programs is available at wsscwater.com/assistance.
The two county councils held their annual bi-county meeting to approve WSSC Water’s budget and the budgets for the bi-county portion of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Central Administrative Services and the Washington Suburban Transit Commission. View the budget document at wsscwater.com/fin.