Board of Water Works Approves 2011 Budget
Tuesday November 9, 2010
Louisville Water Company’s Board of Water Works approved the company’s 2011 budget at its regular meeting November 9. As the company marks 150 years of service, this budget emphasizes investing in Louisville Water’s infrastructure to continue providing a reliable, safe supply of drinking water into the future.
Investing in Innovation
The budget includes $74.8 million for capital spending with over 30% invested in continuing improvements at the Crescent Hill Filtration Plant. LWC is renovating this 100-year-old plant by upgrading the filter and treatment systems. The capital budget also includes new water mains and storage facilities throughout the 600 square mile service area. In addition, Louisville Water will install stand-by generators at its Zorn Avenue and Crescent Hill facilities to help ensure delivery in emergency situations.
“These investments in infrastructure allow us to continue the stewardship of asset investment,” said Greg Heitzman, President and CEO of Louisville Water Company. “Maintaining our infrastructure has become a 150-year hallmark for this company.”
Like other businesses, LWC continues to manage through challenging economic times. The 2011 budget assumes water sales will be flat at 37.5 billion gallons, roughly the same forecast for 2010. The company has reduced labor expenses through employment reductions and operations and maintenance expenses will increase by less than 1%.
Water sales continue a declining trend, based largely on the economic recession and the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures. Even with the record-setting hot, dry autumn, 2010 water sales are lower than budget. Louisville’s job-base has changed, which also impacts sales. The city has moved from a largely manufacturing economy to a service economy where businesses use much less water. In 1977, industrial consumption accounted for 34% of water sales; today it is less than 9%.
2011 Water Rates
Despite the economic environment, Louisville has some of the lowest water rates in the region. As part of the 2011 budget, the Board of Water Works approved a 3.75% rate increase for 2011. This figure represents the lowest rate increase in seven years. An average residential water bill will increase in January by 82-cents a month or about 3-cents a day to $22.62, based on 6,000 gallons of water used in a month. Mindful of the economic recession, the Board increased funding to the Customer Assistance Program to help customers with financial hardships pay their bill.