System Growth and Needed Upgrades Underway
Madison Utilities is in the process of significantly expanding and improving its infrastructure to insure the supply of water to the residents and businesses of the City of Madison. These improvements include the following major projects:
- Installation of a River Intake to begin drawing water from the Tennessee River
- Upgrades to the Quarry Water Treatment Plant to be able to treat the river water
- Upgrades to the Quarry Water Treatment Plant to add an additional 4 MGD capacity
- Upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant Clarifier and Head works
Costs of these projects are estimated at over $30 million and will require borrowing to accomplish. Borrowing of approx. $3 million occurred in 2014 for Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades. Initial borrowing for the Water System projects of approx. $14 million is in process and expected to close in late 2015 or early 2016. Following that, additional borrowing will occur to complete the projects. Along with borrowing comes additional debt service (principal and interest) payments to the bond holders. In order to repay these debt payments, increases to our rates are required.
Recently, Raftelis Financial Consultants (RFC) performed a detailed rate study for Madison Utilities. They examined each operating system’s (Water and Wastewater) current and future operations and maintenance costs, funding requirements and long term capital plans. Also analyzed were consumer consumption trends for both domestic, commercial and irrigation accounts. Further, they performed a cost of service analysis of our monthly base fees charged per meter. Based on this rate study analysis, they have recommended a five-year rate adjustment implementation plan for commodity charges as well as a cost of service based fee schedule for our monthly base charge that is incremented by size of meter.
In addition to the specific projects mentioned above, Madison Utilities is increasing the funding of system maintenance activities on our facilities and infrastructure. Regular maintenance of the system decreases the need for emergency repairs and unexpected expenditures. Much of Madison Utilities’ infrastructure is reaching its useful life and will be in need of replacement in the near future. Additional funding into a “Renewal and Replacement” fund will allow for replacement of this infrastructure without additional rate adjustments or additional borrowing.
Madison Utilities prides itself in providing efficient, reliable and courteous service. Our mission is to protect the public health and environment by providing abundant, affordable and high quality drinking water and providing environmentally sound and affordable wastewater treatment and disposal.
See Sept. 17, 2015 Town Hall presentation