Brunswick County Board of Commissioners receive information on recommended FY 2022 water rate changes
BOLIVIA, N.C. – The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners received information on recommended changes to the county’s water rates during its regular meeting this Tuesday, Jan. 19. The Board of Commissioners will review and take action on the recommended changes as part of its Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) budget process. Approved changes would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Brunswick County retail water rates have seen minimal adjustments over the past 17 years. The only increase occurred in FY 2015 when the monthly retail base rate was increased by $1. Meanwhile, volumetric rates for retail customers were decreased by $0.90 in both FY 2004 and FY 2020.
With the proposed changes, the County’s FY 2022 recommended rates would still remain lower or comparable with other retail water rates in other coastal North Carolina counties.*
The recommended changes address the anticipated debt service repayments that will begin in 2022 for capital improvements at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant, loss in revenues due to the recent closure of an industrial customer, expected reductions in revenue from wholesale customers, and expected rate increases for raw water the County purchases.
The proposed rate changes considered recommendations from the Raftelis water rate study completed in 2019 and subsequent financial forecasts developed in 2020 and reviewed this month. The rate methodology used in the water rate study is in accordance with procedures outlined in the American Water Works Association M-1 Manual, which is the industry standard.
In 2018, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners took action to finance the installation of a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the County’s Northwest Water Treatment Plant to remove PFAS contaminants like GenX from water from the Cape Fear River. All Brunswick County water customers receive all or part of their water from this facility.
The project at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant broke ground in Summer 2020. The facility will increase its conventional treatment capacity from 24 million gallons per day to 45 million gallons per day by Spring 2022. The first five units of the low-pressure reverse osmosis system are expected to begin treating water in Summer 2023 with the final three units anticipated to go online by Fall 2023.
Brunswick County has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours. The County is seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars it is spending to install a new treatment system necessary to remove PFAS contaminants. The lawsuit remains active and ongoing.
The recommended rate changes are as follows. The rate increases for volumetric blocks (tiered) are the same for all meter sizes.
Recommended Water Rate Changes: Retail Meter
Includes an increase of the monthly water base monthly service charge by $4 for all retail meter sizes.
|Retail Meter (all meter sizes)||Current FY 2021 Rate||Proposed FY 2022 Rate|
Recommended Water Rate Changes: Irrigation Meter
Includes the implementation of a $5 monthly irrigation base service charge allocated for additional costs associated with billing, collection, and metering.
|Irrigation Meter (Residential and Commercial/Multi-Family)||Current FY 2021 Rate||Proposed FY 2022 Rate|
Recommended Water Rate Changes: Industrial Meter
Includes an increase of the monthly water base monthly service charge by $4 for all industrial meter sizes.
|Industrial Meter||Current FY 2021 Rate||Proposed FY 2022 Rate|
Recommended Water Rate Changes: Wholesale Meter
Includes an increase of the monthly water base monthly service charge by $4 for all wholesale meter sizes.
|Wholesale Meter||Current FY 2021 Rate||Proposed FY 2022 Rate|
More information about Brunswick County’s water and sewer rates and the January 19, 2021, rate presentation are at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/utilities/rates/
Water customers can view their water use history on their Brunswick County utility bill and their online Utility Billing Customer Portal at https://brunswick.authoritypay.com
*Comparison data is from the UNC Environmental Finance Center.
|Coastal Counties||4,500 gal. usage|
|Brunswick (Recommended FY 2022 Rate)||$34.68|
|Brunswick (Current Rate)||$24.83|
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