Overview wastewater infrastructure is a huge capital

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Overview Wastewater infrastructure is a huge capital investment which must be protected and maintained. It is the responsibility of the elected officials and board members to effectively carry out the associated financial and administrative responsibilities for positive, long term stewardship of this capital asset. Wastewater infrastructure systems are comprised of many components including the collection system pumping stations, treatment plant and personnel. As was emphasized in “Wastewater 101,” problems with any one component can have an adverse impact on the rest of the system, often with costly consequences. In many municipalities, wastewater infrastructure is the most significant budget expense next to highway projects. In addition to the costs incurred to design and build infrastructure systems, both capital and operations expenses are affected by current events. Remember the rise in fuel costs during 2005 that was stimulated by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina? Many communities have also been impacted by changing regulations on Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). Increasingly stringent regulations and rising fuel and materials costs are significantly impacting your wastewater system’s bottom line. To ensure proper long term stewardship, local officials and board members should be familiar with the bottom line. Budgeting Basics for Wastewater Utilities In a general sense, the budget can be divided into two basic categories: Operation & Maintenance (O&M) and Capital Expenditures. The O&M budget provides for the support of routine maintenance, daily operations, and scheduled repairs. Every piece of equipment has a life cycle and will eventually deteriorate to the point of replacement. Without a long term Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and a funded reserve account to support the CIP, your municipality could find itself without the funds to support needed replacements. User fees, typically based on metered water consumption, are collected to fund the O&M component. A proper budget ensures that staff, chemicals, and parts are available to keep the system properly operating. A proper budget also helps the municipality to meet their SPDES Permit, which is a legal obligation. Municipal debt obligations are paid by funds that are typically raised by a tax levy based upon assessed valuation. These funds pay for the debt service on the original bond issued to construct the plant and any other projects that have been undertaken and financed by bonds or bond anticipation notes. Case Studies The following case study is intended to illustrate the critical importance of budgeting and project planning to help in maintaining a healthy bottom line. Village of Weedsport The Village of Weedsport is a small village in Cayuga County with a total population of approximately 1,800.
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  • Spring '14
  • Management, Sewage treatment, wastewater management

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