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A significant challenge facing many agencies since the expiration of the Clean Water Act (CWA) Grants Program is how to pay for the ever-increasing costs for providing wastewater service in light of more restrictive water quality objectives. The challenge is coming at a time when stakeholders and special interests are becoming more involved in the planning process. Agencies increasingly require assistance in wastewater planning to meet both water quality goals from environmental regulations and fiscal limitations from customers, who in the absence of federal funding must ultimately bear the cost for new projects.

Agencies can benefit from the successful application of a financial decision-support package designed to assist in developing capital improvement programs (CIPs), planning for the cash flow and external financing requirements, and establishing equitable annual revenue programs. This system was recently used to assist the City of Reno in planning for major wastewater treatment plant expansions.

The financial decision support system successfully used for the City of Reno is the Financial Planning Tool™ (FPT). The FPT™ is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheets programmed with an easy-to-use graphic user interface. It has aided management in not only promoting fiscally responsible cost recovery programs, but also planning for future bond financing scenarios. The program is easily updated each year with current annual revenue requirements, agency customer data, and timing and costs for the future capital projects. Historic budget and customer data is stored and continually evaluated for predicting future trends.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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