Guest Commentary: Fair share ... Marco Island City Council fails to properly vet water, sewer capacity charge

I received a copy of the schedule that Burton and Associates used to allocate Sewer Capacity Charge (Sewer Debt Service) to Single Family Homes and Condos.

Unfortunately, that calculation is incorrect. At the bottom of the worksheet, Flow gallons for Single Family Homes (SFH) includes five percent I&I (Inflow & Infiltration) and condo flow gallons are net invoiced gallons. Adjust condos gallons to include the five percent I&I and the flow gallons per unit changes. Hence, the condo percentage of a single family home changes from 85to 90 percent. And based on Mr. Magel's recommendation to adjust the I&I to seven percent the percentage for condos increases to 96 percent of a single family home. Council has the prerogative to adjust the percentage to the appropriate level. When this correction is made the capacity charge (debt service) is reduced for all other class of customer.

In addition to the above, I reviewed the commercial class of customers and noted an inequity in the allocation of the capacity charge (debt service) to different Meter Size customers. My assessment is as follows ...

Commercial class

I recommendation Council revisit the capacity charge (debt service) being charged to commercial customer class. Presently there is a mixed bag for allocating the capacity charge. For the single family homes and condos the equivalent residential connection (ERC) methodology is being applied. For water,single family homes is charged $35.26 and condos is charged $14.27 capacity charge because they are a Low volume user of water (use approximately 5,000 gallons or less.) For commercial, meter equivalents is being applied. That maybe appropriate for 5/8" meters low volume users, but it is not appropriate for large volume users or for larger size meters accounts. It is my opinion water and sewer flowmethodology is more appropriate for large volume users. Meaning that average monthly flow for Water be divided by (440 gallons x 30 days = 13,200 gallons monthly) = number of ERC's to be charged. Example, large volume water user uses 2,000,000 gals monthly / 13,200 = 152 ERC's. Current M54 methodology if large volume user has a 4" meter, the charge would be 25 meter equivalents. This example clearly exhibits a more appropriate allocation of a capacity charge based on utilization of the plant.

A similar example for Sewer is sewer usage 2,000,000 gals monthly divided by (220 Gallons x 30 days = 6,600) = 303 ERC's.

Water capacity charge example

M54, 4" meter = 25 Meter Equivalents. 25 x $35.26 = $881.50 monthly capacity charge.

Flow method, 2,000,000 / 13,200 = 152 ERC's x $35.26 = $5,359.52 monthly capacity charge.

There are153 , 5/8" Meter Commercial Customers use 5,000 gallons or less per month or 202,000 gals combined monthly, 153 ERC'S x $35.26 = $5,394.78 monthly capacity charge.

There are 83, 5/8" Meter Commercial Customers use more than 5,000 gallons per month or 1,400,000 gals combined monthly, 83 x $35.26 = $2,926.58 capacity charge.

Conclusion, 83 customers use seven (7) times as much gallons and pay 46% less of a capacity charge.

I and others as well as Mr. Burton from Burton and Associates have recommended that consideration be given to Low Volume Water USERS and that a Lower Capacity Charge (Debt Service) be assigned to Single Family Homes and Commercial Class users similar to that being given to Individually and Master Metered Condos Low Volume Water Users.

Sewer capacity charge example

M54, 4" meter = 25 Meter Equivalents, 25 x $18.91 = $472.75 monthly capacity charge.

Flow method, monthly usage 2,000,000/ 6,600 = 303 ERC's x $18.91 = $5,729.73 monthly capacity charge.

There are153, 5/8" Meter Commercial Customers using 202,000 gals monthly combined, 153 x $18.91 = $2,893.23 monthly capacity charge.

There are 83, 5/8" Meter Commercial Customers using 1,400,000 gallons monthly combined, 83 x $18.91 = $1,569.53 monthly capacity charge.

Hotels with 4" meter equals 25 meter equivalents, 25 x $18.91 = $472.75 monthly capacity charge.

Hotel uses 1,500,000 gallons per month/6,600 gallons = 227 ERC's x $18.91 = $4,292.57 monthly charge which is more appropriate forutilization of the plant.

North Marco Utility, 4" Meter Equivalent, 25 ERC"s x $18.91 = $472.75 monthly capacity charge.

Their monthly sewer Usage is approximately 2,300,000 gallons. Flow Method result would be 2,300,000 / 6,600 = 348 ERC's x $18.91 =$6,580.68 monthly capacity charge.

Examples above clearly demonstrate that Meter Equivalents for larger size meter users as well as large volume users does not pay their fair share of capacity charge (debtservice) for utilization of the plants.

It is imperative that this City Council give serious consideration to review the data more carefully and make the necessary adjustments to the Rate Structure to insure that each class of customer as well as class of customers within a class are being assessed a faircapacity charge based on their utilization of the plants.

It is also imperative that those individuals affected by this M54 Rate Structure attend the First Reading of this Ordinance at Monday's Council Meeting, June 18, 2012 at 5:30 PM, to let their voices be heard that this rate structure be Fair and Equitable for all users.

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Comments » 3

Seawaller writes:

Well done. However you have two major obstacles: (1) finding anyone on Council who can actually understand what you have accomplished here, and (2) overcoming the predisposition on the part of the majority of Council to protect the current preferred classes of customers (Sneeches with stars).

lauralbi1 writes:

Give it up man. If I had the desire, I could take the time and present your numbers in an entirely different way to come up with entirely different conclusions. And that is without neven validating the accuracy of your numbers, which I am cedrtain are not on the money.

For someone who never wanted us to be a City in the first place, you sure have a lot to say.

Ed Issler

ajm3s writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

Give it up man. If I had the desire, I could take the time and present your numbers in an entirely different way to come up with entirely different conclusions. And that is without neven validating the accuracy of your numbers, which I am cedrtain are not on the money.

For someone who never wanted us to be a City in the first place, you sure have a lot to say.

Ed Issler

"Give it up man" is quite a rebuttal.

Imagine "numbers in an entirely different way to come up with entirely different conclusions"; so I ask is it the numbers you do not accept or the conclusions? Or both?

Interesting, Mr. Petricca a concerned citizen takes the time to raise cogent concerns, and you have no "desire" to refute his claims. Yet, you are "certain" without validating the numbers that they are "not on the money".

Geez, what are we to do if Mr. Petricca is elected to a seat for city council? He will surely have to more to say and for the record, he has my vote along with a host of others. However, I need assistance, would you recommend bullet voting as done in the past?

In conclusion, Mr. Petricca took the time to present the numbers and you offered nothing to refute his claim. Am I to conclude you are more credible? Really? In my limited experience, I have always found gripes by employees with a basis, more credible than dissension with no basis. At the very least they took the time to think about it.

May I recommend a credible claim where numbers can be meaningless? Consider the new established price of reclaimed water. Simply review the dialog of the public workshops and the consultants comments. The price set for reclaimed water of $1.54 for the city of Marco Island is significantly below the AWWA median value. Why is that? Perhaps this number is meaningless?

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