Water authority holding rates steady | News, Sports, Jobs

For the second year in a row, the Altoona Water Authority isn’t raising rates — after five consecutive years in which costs for authority customers went up.

Last year, the authority avoided a rate hike partly due to the benefits of a rate restructuring in December 2018 that moved the authority away from charges based on amounts of water used toward charges based on fixed costs like wages — offsetting a long-term societal trend toward reduced water usage — coupled with the imposition of a capital surcharge.

This year, there’s no need for an increase due partly to capital loans having been repaid for the water division and revenue from treating leachate from outside sources this year offsetting a deficit on the sewer side, according to controller Gina DeRubeis.

Other factors include the authority’s success in obtaining low-interest

Pennvest loans and, occasionally, Pennvest grants for virtually all its many capital projects, staff engineer Mike Sinisi said after the meeting.

Therefore, “next year’s budget is pretty much the same as this year’s,” Sinisi said.

Water revenues for 2021 are projected to be $21.4 million, $17.9 million of which is in water sales.

Administrative expenses are projected to be $4.9 million; billing and collection costs, $876,000; purification and distribution expenditures, $1.6 million; maintenance expenditures, $3.8 million; employee fringe benefits and insurance, $3.1 million; capital expenses, $2.7 million and debt service, $1.6 million.

The water division is projected to have a $785,000 surplus.

Sewer revenues are projected to be $14.4 million, with $11.6 million in wastewater rentals.

Administrative expenses are projected to be $6.7 million; disposal plant expenses, $1.6 million; employee benefits and insurance, $1.4 million; capital expenses, $1.2 million; and debt service, $946,000. The sewer division is expected to run a $637,000 deficit.

The Altoona authority’s residential customers pay a base charge of $20.88 a month, a capital surcharge of $1.94 a month, $1.20 per 1,000 gallons for the first 1,667 gallons and $9.95 per 1,000 gallons for the next 2,333 gallons used.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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