Efficiently Reducing Expenses

wwbBirmingham Water Works’ releases 2014 budget

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) recently released its 2014 Operating Budget totaling $90.1 million, which reflects a reduction in budgeted expenses of nearly $4 million. The approved budget comes as a result of managements’ efforts to reduce costs, continuously improve efficiency, and provide quality service.
“We are always concerned about our operating cost and we also want to run an efficient operation, as well as limit the impact on our customers,” said BWWB General Manager Mac Underwood. “Some of our customers experience financial challenges; therefore, we are very mindful of our spending.”
As a result of the BWWB holding its rate increase to 3.9 percent, the average customer can expect a $1.40 increase to their 2014 water bill – which is equivalent to a family of four consuming 7,500 gallons of water per month or 10 cubic feet.  However, customers consuming less than 7,500 gallons will see a much smaller impact on their monthly water bill.
Although the utility’s rates are increasing, the BWWB’s rates are comparable to other water systems around the state. On a regional level the BWW’s rates are reasonable, with the average customer’s water bill being $45.71.
“The Board plans to continuously consider and review efforts that will reduce expenditures and we realize that our customers continue to face challenges in this tight economic environment,” said BWWB Chairman Jackie Robinson.
In order to meet increasing government regulations, in addition to maintaining high quality water, the board uses stringent operational parameters. The six primary drivers that determine the budget are purification costs, system upgrades, energy costs, labor costs, funding of employee benefits, as well as capital and regulatory requirements. Additionally, the BWWB’s bond rating is very important to the company’s long-term financial viability and the budget fully funds the utility’s debt service cost.
Principal funding contributors for the fiscal 2014 budget of $90.1 million are labor costs which amount to $32.7 million, employee benefits which encompasses a significant reduction of $4.8 million, along with purification and power costs which remain stable.
In addition to the operating budget, the board approved the 2014 Capital Budget of $55 million, which will allow the board to meet regulatory requirements, maintenance and replacements, risk management, capacity, performance and cost efficiency requirements.

The Birmingham Water Works serves 600,000 people in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair and Walker counties. For more information about your Birmingham Water Works Board, please call us at (205) 244-4000 or visit our Web site at www.birminghamwaterworks.com.