By Carla O’Day
Water rate adjustments in Northern Nevada are expected to take effect in May to close a funding gap between recurring revenue and cost of services, which is expected to reach $13 million in the next five years.
Truckee Meadows Water Authority rate increases approved Wednesday by the board will be three percent each for the first and second years and up to 2.5 percent in each of the third through fifth years. After implementation of year one and two rate adjustments, increases in years three through five should be subject to an annual review of the utility’s financial performance to determine if rate increases can be lowered or deferred.
(Clarification: The board approved the rate-adjustment structure, recommended by both TMWA staff and its Standing Advisory Committee. It will be moved forward into the public process for review and discussion by customers before votes on rate changes occur.)
There was prior discussion about adjusting rates based on the Consumer Price Index, and TMWA indicated it would consider using that for standardized rate increases in the future to maintain more level rate adjustments. However, TMWA isn’t doing that now to try and close a funding gap.
Plans account for water revenue increases of three percent over last year’s drought levels from residential customers, along with estimated benefits from the refunding of 2007 bonds in 2017. The last rate increase was in early 2014.
All commodity tier charges will be increased by the same amount, as will residential and commercial customers.
Hookup fees will not change.
“Hookup fees fall under a different rule and what we’re talking about is customer charges and not commercial development charges,” said Michele Sullivan, TMWA chief financial officer. “Customer charges are recurring revenue.”
Open houses for the public are planned in February and TMWA is planning to send out notices in bills prior to then.
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