OWASA Board Approves Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and Rates with No Rate Increase

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2021 at a meeting on Thursday, June 11, 2020. In acknowledgment of the significant financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our community, the approved budget will not require a rate increase.

Prior to the crisis, OWASA staff projected that a 5% increase would be needed to support our long-term program to renew and replace aging infrastructure.

To allow for a budget that does not include a rate increase, some capital projects have been deferred to future fiscal years, and OWASA staff will not receive raises. At the OWASA Board Work Session on May 14, Board members acknowledged that the budget could present challenges to employee retention and, potentially, a minor impact to OWASA’s level of service.

The Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget covers a time period from July 2020 through June 2021. It includes roughly $23.2 million for operating expenses, $20.3 million for capital projects, and $9.1 million for making principal and interest payments on loans and bonds used to finance system improvements.

No public comments regarding the budget were received during the public hearing process.

Investments in our utility are critical to maintaining water and sewer service and protecting public health and our environment. Delaying investments in our community’s utility infrastructure is not a sustainable solution. To ensure the long-term risks are minimized, rate increases are anticipated in future fiscal years.

OWASA suspended service disconnects for non-payment in early March as a result of COVID-19 and has seen a dramatic increase in non-payments since. If you have the means, please consider contributing to Care to Share, OWASA’s customer assistance program. Your donation can help make sure that no one in our community must go without this critical resource.

We invite the public’s question and comments about our services. You may reach us by email at info@owasa.org.