At 8:00 a.m. on March 17, 2021, the Roxborough Water and Sanitation District’s Board of Directors will hold its annual public hearing on rates and charges.
Staff will present our recommendations for rates at that meeting, but ultimately the Board makes the final decision. Rate recommendations are based on several factors:
Current year (2021) budget adopted by the Board in November
Previous year actual financial results
Extensive review of current fixed asset reserves and the District’s 10-year capital improvement plan.
Some highlights from 2020:
2020 was a hot, dry year, and water use was up as a result. Average use per residential unit was 263.74 gallons per day (GPD), the second highest in the last 5 years. Average water use, per person per day, for 2020 was 91 GPD; a significant increase over 75 gallons per person per day in 2019.
In 2020 the number of residential units served increased 1.4% over 2019, but total water provided increased 18% and average use per household increased 16%.
In 2019 the Board adopted a more aggressive tiered rate structure to encourage water conservation and the results for 2020:
98% of residents used 10,000 gallons/month or less in the winter, up from 96% in 2019.
42% of residents used 10,000 gallons/month or less all year long, down from 61% in 2019.
3% of residents continued to use more than 40,000 gallons/month during the summer, but they accounted for 21% of the District’s water sale revenues.
Average annual cost of water for 2020 was $1,327 per household.
Since 2009, RWSD’s portion of the cost/1,000 gallons has gone down 3% – from $1.41/1,000 to $1.37/1,000. During that same period the cost/1,000 gallons the District pays to Aurora for its water supply has gone up 25.5%.
Challenges in 2020 such as the cyber-attack and the system maintenance in November and December resulted in operator overtime increasing 34.6%, but we expect to significantly reduce that need for overtime in 2021.
Average annual cost per residence for sewer service was $506 for 2020.
The District’s sewer rates were the same in 2020 as they were in 2009. Overall sewer rates, including Littleton’s portion, have increased 12.5% since 2009, which is 1% per year.
Staff’s recommendation for 2021 rates includes:
The Monthly Base Charge is intended to cover the District’s fixed costs – costs that stay the same regardless of the amount of water treated. Fixed costs increase over time with inflation, and in 2020 the Monthly Base Charge did not cover our fixed costs. Structuring our rates in this way ensures the District has stable revenues to support day-to-day operations, and there are no wild adjustments to rates in response to a dry vs. wet year or raising rates when residents conserve. So, for 2021 we are recommending a 0.8% increase in the Base Monthly Charge from $36.20 to $36.50.
We are not recommending any changes to the Tier 1 usage charges for 2021.
To continue to encourage efficient water use and conservation, staff is recommending the Tier 2, 3 and 4 rates increase from $0.20 – $0.25 per thousand gallons used.
For sewer, we operate the wastewater collection and transmission system to convey wastewater to the City of Littleton. For 2021, Littleton is raising rates 2.9%, and staff is recommending the District pass 2.8% of this increase on to residential and commercial customers. Residential sewer rates would go from $39.40 per month to $40.50.
Staff is recommending System Development Charges for new connections to the system increase 1% for 2021 to reflect the cost of new facilities added in 2020.
Please plan to attend the public hearing on rates on March 17 if you’re able, and if you are not, watch the website for an update on the Board’s final action.
As always, give me a call or set up an appointment to meet if you’d like to discuss.
Barbara Biggs, General Manager Roxborough Water & Sanitation District
Read Barbara Biggs’ BIO