FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FY 2023 Water and Sewer Budget Approved by District Commissioners
During a regularly scheduled meeting on 12/8/2022, the Birch Bay Water & Sewer Commissioners voted to approve the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget:
Operations & Maintenance $4,633,190
Capital Improvement Projects $2,878,550
Debt Service $ 597,438
Total budget $8,109,178
Sandi McMillan, District Finance Director, shares that the Board reviewed a 10 year Revenue Requirement plan that includes capital facilities projects needed in the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Water Distribution system. She notes the growing District as serving the largest urban growth area in Whatcom county with over 8,000 water and sewer connections.
Capital projects in 2023 include a couple of watermain replacement projects on Holeman and Shintaffer Roads. On the Wastewater Treatment facility side, we have a capital project to identify and reduce the amount of Inflow and Infiltration that occurs during excessive rain events. An additional water reservoir, 170,000 gallons, will begin construction at the Point Whitehorn District location that will be able to supply this side of the service area. This is an important additional water supply for the community in case of a natural emergency such as an earthquake. This will be financed by a loan competitively awarded by the State of WA Public Works Board. Commissioner Montfort summarized “Programs for state and federal low-interest loans and grants are usually the first choice for the District construction projects. Often, interest rates as low as 1-2% over 20 years are available if the project meets program requirements.”
The Commissioners approved a rate increase at approximately 5% for 2023. Mrs. McMillan noted this is far below current inflation rates and that the Board of Commissioners voiced direction to keep rates as low as possible while still planning for needed infrastructure upgrades. The fixed basic portion of the residential water and sewer bi-monthly bill will increase from $79.00 to $83.00. An average use for 60 days of water and sewer service at 1,200 cf of water will be billed $137.80 for those two months, which is an increase over last year $131.00, which equals 11 cents per day increase.