Home » Editorial »Opinion » Currently Reading:

How Did We Get Here And How Do We Get Out?? A Summary Of Purcellville’s Sewer Debt And Strategic Solutions

July 1, 2015 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Editorial, Opinion No Comments
kwasifraser

– By Kwasi Fraser, Mayor of Purcellville

Many of our fellow citizens are baffled by the proposed increase in our already high water and sewer rates, and not just about the increase that was proposed for the Fiscal Year 2016 but also about the proposed increases over the next nine years. This quote from one of our citizens to a council member sums up the shock and frustration of many, “You mean to tell me if I’m still living in Purcellville ten years from now I could have a water bill for over $600 dollars.” Well, if we continue with yearly compounded increases, a $600 bill will become a reality, but there are alternative strategies. Before presenting alternative solutions to address our water and sewer rates, I owe it to our citizens to at least explain the situation.

In 2008, the town council approved the upgrades and expansion of Purcellville’s Basham Simms Wastewater Treatment Facility. The upgrades and expansion were to address the following:

Compliance with the Department of Environmental Quality 2005 Chesapeake Bay Clean Air and Water Act mandate on nutrient limits.

Future anticipated growth of Purcellville resulting in increasing demand for wastewater treatment.

The upgrades and expansion totaled an estimated $30.5 million, with $24.9 million from a Virginia Resources Authority Bond, $5.2 million from a Water Quality Improvement Fund Grant, $286,400 from a Bank of America Bond, and $105,500 from cash.

As shown in Table 1, prior to the upgrades and expansion to the Basham Simms Wastewater Treatment Facility in 2010, the treatment capacity was 1 million gallons per day (MGD) with average actual treatment of 504,000 gallons per day (GD) or 50 percent of the total treatment capacity at that time. At completion of the plant in 2010, the treatment capacity increased to 1.5 MGD with average actual treatment of 528,000 GD. In 2014, with an estimated population of 7,975 residents, the average actual treatment was 601,000 GD, which was just 40 percent of the total treatment capacity.

The fifth column on Table 1 shows how many more treated gallons per day the plant can support before requiring additional upgrade or expansion. This further illustrates how much population growth the existing plant can support before needing an upgrade or expansion.

kwasitable1

In 2014, with an estimated population of 7,975, along with business and institutional users generating 601,000 GD treatment, the plant could have treated an additional 500,000 GD before requiring an upgrade. This is the reason why some individuals estimate that our wastewater treatment plant can easily support all of the surrounding smaller towns whose combined population is less than 2,500 individuals with a smaller business and institutional base.

This brings us to our current state. With the combined water and sewer debt of $41.6 million, as shown in Table 2, and not having enough users to consume the significant excess capacity at the wastewater facility, our estimated 2015 population of 8,200 residents, schools, and businesses are left to service that debt.

kwasitable2

In our fiscal year 2016 budget workshops, two of our council members strongly advocated increasing the water rate by 3 percent and the sewer rate by 5 percent. Their reasoning was that the decreases that were made last year set us back and the increases will bring us back in line and enable us to ensure more funds will be available to address the future Utility Enterprise Debt Service including the balloon payment in 2021 as shown in Figure 1.

kwasifigure1

Our consultant, based on their water and sewer rate models, recommended that we make no increases in Fiscal Year 2016, but a 3 percent increase in water rates for each of the next nine years, a 5 percent increase in sewer rates in the next three years and 4 percent in each of the subsequent six years. I agreed with our consultant not to increase the rate this year, to give our citizens and businesses a break from the prior years of significant increases in water and sewer, while implementing initiatives to bring in outside revenue to service the debt.

One such initiative is the pilot program to sell our excess water to out-of-town companies, which I anticipate will result in $130,000 in revenue over the next 12 months. My goal was to use this additional revenue to go towards both water and sewer funds, but our accounting policy will not allow for any of that money to go towards the sewer fund since it is generated from just the sale of water. Due to that accounting restriction the revenue will be going towards the water debt alone and as such I voted for no increase in water and a 5 percent in sewer. I firmly believe we should not pursue any reduction if there is not a clear way to pay for it.

The 5 percent increase in sewer goes back to not being allowed to use any of the estimated $130,000 of new water revenue towards the sewer fund and the significant debt burden from our sewer plant and its excess capacity. My commitment to the citizens of Purcellville is that we will pursue initiatives to generate new revenue sources to reduce our significant sewer debt. One such strategy that is being evaluated is the lease or sale of underperforming real estate assets in and around the vicinity of the waste water treatment plant. This initiative may result in significant revenue that will go a long way in reducing our debt and relieving our taxpayers from the burden of substantial rate increases.

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Holocene Climate

noerpel_new

(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions

Smith0035

Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes

drmikenewpic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio

wage

I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power

noerpel_new

“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV
March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Constitutionally protected speech is exactly what it sounds like, protected. We all have the legal right to utter nonsensical and...
  • Martha on Protecting Free Speech: Free speech is not a cherished right at the not-quite accredited Patrick Henry College, a religious school that Del. LaRock...
  • Martha Polkey on First Look at Envision Loudoun Results: It remains to be seen whether the direction citizens have provided to the Envision process is actually incorporated into the...
  • David on Protecting Free Speech: Mr. LaRock, I assume that the only reason you weren’t at every School Board meeting in 2005 passionately defending the...
  • LongTimePville on Purcellville Emergency Meeting Postponed to March 10: I bet Kelli Grim flip flops on her conflicts of interest and transparency campaign she ran on and does not...

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Sterling Library Moving To New Location

25 Mar 2017

Library

Sterling Library’s current location, 120 Enterprise St., Sterling, will close beginning Saturday, March 25, to prepare for the opening of the new Sterling Library on Saturday, April 15. Patrons can return library materials using the drop box at the new location, 22330 S. Sterling Boulevard. Printer-friendly Related

(Be the first to comment)

Middleburg Gallery Presents Country Pursuits Exhibit

25 Mar 2017

Mr and Mrs Andrews 24x35 59 2016 whelan

The Gallery on Madison in Middleburg is presenting an exhibit of Brian Whelan’s (a London Irish painter now settled in Waterford) ) transcriptions of a gallery of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Andrews’ through April 2. The exhibit includes 23 paintings, two masks, two graphics, and nine preparatory drawings. Printer-friendly Related

(Be the first to comment)

Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Virginia Schools Kick Off Statewide Campaign To Encourage Safe Teen Driving

image004

More teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between the months of May and August than any other time of the year, statistics show. To help save lives and prevent such crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Virginia schools are kicking off a statewide teen safety …

(Be the first to comment)

Protecting Free Speech

Dave_larock

By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …

(3 comments)

Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017

vikings

The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

(Be the first to comment)

WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017

WLVBC300

The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2017
  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009