RWR Deputy Director Terrell Gibbs said at the Monday evening Board of Commissioners work session, "Upon our review, it was at best, marginal," referring to the $35,000 study performed by Peoples and Quigley. "It didn't put all the assumptions in place that we needed to build an inference on to what we would need five years from that point, 2008. It wouldn't even get us to the present day."
"The general public hears rate study, they instantly think ‘Are you going to start billing me?' The more correct term is mathematical model for capital improvements five, 10, 15 years in the future." Much like a master plan, Gibbs later said a comprehensive rate study should be performed about every three to five years.
"We're looking at where are there other opportunities, bonding opportunities or whatnot, to where we can fund capital improvement projects in the future."
Water and Sewer Board Authority member Garvin Haynes later said some of those capital improvement projects include improvements mandated by the EPD by 2015.
Haynes added another shortfall of the 2008 study was that it didn't evaluate industries on a cost structure basis.
The last comprehensive model was done in 1998, he said. This study would reportedly take at least a year to perform.
Commissioner JaNice Van Ness asked at the Monday evening work session why the study couldn't be performed in-house with existing RWR staff.
Gibbs replied that some of the things required, such as economic forecasting, were beyond the scope of the staff.
The rate study will be part of a group of other engineering services, including wastewater treatment plant enhancement, water infrastructure and sewer infrastructure, that the RWR will be putting out for a request for qualifications. An RFQ would allow the county to determine which interested companies were qualified for proposed projects. The next step would be a request for proposals, in which the qualified companies would bid on the project.