Continuing with the work being done by the City’s water rate consultant (Raftelis), a second City Council Workshop was held on March 19, 2018. The purpose of Study Session #2 was to provide the Council with background information regarding components of the water utility’s financial plan. The presented Financial Plan is a working draft and conceptual in nature as the City is also doing a Cost Allocation Plan Study. The results of the Cost Allocation Plan Study, once it is completed, will need to be incorporated into the Financial Plan. City staff and the consultant will return with a more detailed and recommended Financial Plan at the next Water Rate Study Session.
Topics of the presentation included staffing and other costs associated with providing the City’s water, a discussion of the financially prudent reasons for establishing one or more reserve accounts as part of the budget planning for the water utility, and potential Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for water facilities and improvements for the next five years. The link to the presentation is here.
The conceptual Financial Plan was accompanied by a presentation from Ms. Lynne Rosselli of the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), who gave an overview of the SCWA’s upcoming fiscal year budget and the impact it will have on the cost of water they supply to the City’s water utility. SCWA provides approximately 90 percent of the City’s water, and based on their budget, water costs are estimated to increase by approximately six percent (6%) for the next fiscal year. Ms. Rosselli’s presentation materials can be accessed here.
Ms. Colleen Ferguson, City of Sonoma Public Works Director, also provided information on several of the water utility’s upcoming Capital Improvement Plan projects, including the possible installation of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. An AMI system would allow customers to easily access real-time, detailed information about their water use. Additionally it would provide City water staff with essential data to quickly locate and fix otherwise costly customer water leaks.