By Tamas Mondovics
For the fifth consecutive year, Tampa Bay Water (TBW) board of directors approved the agency’s fiscal year budget with no wholesale rate increase.
That is good news for residents, considering that according to TBW officials the 2016 budget reduces agency expenditures by more than $2.4 million, while maintaining a wholesale drinking water rate of $2.56 per 1,000 gallons. That’s wholesale rate per gallon. Of course, by the time the water bill reaches the customer, the numbers change a bit, thanks to such things as Water Pass-Through Consumption Charge, or the normal water usage charge, which proportionately changes depending on the amount used.
While calculating one’s monthly water bill may be a bit challenging, the good news is that as long as one uses about the same amount of water each month the bill remains the same.
“Tampa Bay Water’s board is committed to providing clean, safe water at an affordable price,” said Matt Jordan, general manager for Tampa Bay Water.
In a recent press release, Jordan credited TBW’s ability to reach its zero rate increase budget to two traits, when he said, “We developed a budget that maintains the current rate by finding efficiencies and implementing rate-saving measures throughout the organization.”
According to TBW officials, highlights of the fiscal year 2016 budget starts with a $2.4 million reduction in overall expenditures that includes saving the agency $228,000 by bringing work in-house versus outsourcing, which was accomplished by filling four new staff member and two co-op positions.
Breaking it all down to numbers, TBW’s projected water delivery to its member governments; Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa is 164 million gallons per day (mgd), maintained by a cost-efficient combination of water supplies, while maintaining regulatory permits, which comes to 105 mgd of groundwater, 55 mgd of surface water and 4 mgd of desalinated seawater.
TBW is also using $5.3 million from the utility’s rate stabilization fund, officials said. Finding efficiencies in the budget allows the agency to hold the line on the wholesale rate despite implementing programs such as an asset management program, a computerized maintenance and monitoring system and the Long-Term Master Water Supply Plan. Visit www.tampabaywater.org.