RCSD Takes Steps to Change Connection Fees

At a special business meeting last Wednesday, March 9, the Redway Community Services District (RCSD) Board of Directors reviewed a report from their engineer and a contract with a rate consultant as they work toward determining new connection fees.

The board voted to approve a consulting agreement with NBS Government Finance Group for technical assistance with water rate and capacity fee analyses. Due to requests from some board members, the board agreed to make approval of the contract contingent upon the district’s attorney’s reading of the contract without finding major changes necessary.

Greg Clumpner of NBS will be the project manager for the district’s rate and capacity fee analyses. District general manager John Rogers briefed the full board on the preliminary meeting the Connection Fee Committee had with Clumpner.

“One of the things he wanted to make clear was that this is dependent on and predicated on our staff doing a significant amount of work, with them providing primarily guidance and structure to our efforts to organize our financial information in such a way that we justify the connection rate we intend to charge and our regular rates in a manner that is consistently in compliance with [Proposition] 218,” Rogers explained.

The board also considered a draft Water Use Evaluation for Residential and Commercial Customers that Water Works Engineers had prepared to analyze water use data from RCSD in order to determine average and peak water use for the various classifications of water customers. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine a unit of measurement of water based on average usage that would serve as a basis for computing new connection fees and rate-related decisions. Water Works Engineers analyzed water usage data from 2010 to 2015 in the report.

Board member Art McClure complained that some of the information on types of businesses was not accurate in the report, pointing out that only one establishment was identified as a take-out restaurant when there were three restaurants that served take out in Redway. He listed to several other points that he said were incorrect. Sutton also objected to some of the report, citing problems with numbers given of customers and connections.

Rogers agreed that there were some inconsistencies, but explained that mostly had to do with the way things were labeled in the system, and that there were overlaps in some of the categories.

“In part, there is a tendency to go over and make all this perfect, and I’m not sure we’re going to be able to make this all perfect,” Rogers said. Board chair Michael McKaskle said that despite some inconsistencies, the computations checked out within an acceptable margin.

“It serves our purpose,” McKaskle said, in that it provided a single-family residence (SFR) equivalency unit of measurement.

The conclusion of the report stated that one single-family residence water demand be defined as an average use of 200 gallons per day. It gave an average daily usage during the maximum usage month of 350 gallons per day.

The report provided equivalents for various customer types, such as restaurants, hotels, and multi-family residences using the SFR unit equivalency.

After some discussion it was decided that Clumpner would be consulted to see if the Water Use Evaluation for Residential and Commercial Customers was useful to the connection fee and rate study purposes. At the same time, the board decided Water Works Engineers would be contacted with their concerns about the report.

In the third discussion item on the agenda, McKaskle reported that a large user connection fee ordinance was being drafted and was under scrutiny of the district’s attorney. That proposal would allow a business to pay a single SRF connection fee initially, then allow the district to reassess the usage at various points in time and require the appropriate connection fee to be paid at the time of reassessment according to actual usage over the period.

The RCSD regular meeting is this Wednesday, March 16, at the district office in the Meadows Business Park in Redway.