About the Project
Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services (DES) has commenced a Water and Wastewater Utility Cost of Service and Rate Design Study. The study will help ensure that sufficient revenues are recovered through our rates and that our rate and fee structures are aligned with the County’s financial objectives and the community’s values.
It is industry best practice to conduct this type of evaluation every three to five years. DES’ most recent cost of service and rate design study was conducted from 2003 – 2004. At that time, the current rate structure (charging based on water consumption) was reaffirmed and a rate model was established to calculate the annual revenue necessary to fund operation, maintenance, and capital infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement for the utilities, while adhering to financial policies. Stormwater is not within the scope of this study.
Project Approach and Scope
The study objectives are:
- Financial Plan
o Develop forecast of revenues and revenue requirements
o Assess level of future increases
o Build a financial planning model
- Cost of Service & Rate Design
o Analysis to allocate costs to provide service to various categories and customer classes
o Evaluate the effectiveness of existing rate structure
o Develop rate structure options that meet pricing objectives
o Recommend defensible rates and rate structure to support the utilities
- Review Availability Fees and Miscellaneous Fees
o Review and benchmark current utilities fees
o Evaluate the current system of charges assessed to new development
- Review cost basis and methodology used to establish various fees including service connection fees and availability charges
o Proposed changes to fees are advertised for the FY 2022 budget.
The County will engage with utility customers from a broad and representative range of backgrounds and interests via online feedback forms, pop-ups and public forums.
In addition, a Rate Study Community Advisory Group (RSCAG), comprised of community members and businesses, has been formed to represent various segments of the County’s water and sewer utility customer base. Members of the RSCAG are encouraged to offer feedback on the Study, as it progresses.
Click here to view the summary report of online feedback collected on the community values that were important to participants of our most recent engagement opportunity: “How Should Arlington County Charge for Water and Wastewater Services?”
About Arlington County Water and Wastewater Utilities
• Arlington County provides retail water and wastewater services to approximately 37,600 accounts and maintains several inter-jurisdictional agreements providing wholesale services to neighboring communities.
• The Utilities Fund was created as a self-sustaining, fee-based enterprise fund to support and maintain development of the County’s water and wastewater system infrastructure.
RSCAG Meeting Materials Meeting No. 6 – Jan. 26, 2021 Meeting No. 5 – Dec. 7, 2020 Meeting No. 4 – March 9, 2020 Meeting No. 3 – Jan. 14, 2020 Meeting No. 2 – Nov. 14, 2019 Meeting No. 1 – Oct. 21, 2019