Budget Update and Modest Rate Increase for 2023

2022 required careful attention to keep the budget balanced amidst the financial impacts of COVID, rising operational costs, ongoing system improvements, and regular maintenance.

During the Fall of each year, North City Water District reviews our financial status in order to develop our annual budget for the upcoming year. Based on that analysis (which was presented on December 13, 2022 during one of our public Board of Commissioners meetings), we developed our budget for the year 2023. Copies of this budget presentation (and previous years’ presentations) are available here on our website; an explanation of the 2023 budget is presented below:

2023 Projected Revenues

Other Revenues
(7% of our total revenue)
Other revenues include interest, late fees, antenna rents and hook-up fees.

IRR Service Revenue
(1% of our total revenue)
Irrigation Revenue (IRR) from customers with separate irrigation meters.

Non-Single Family Service Revenue
(23% of our total revenue)
Non-Single-Family Service Revenue from duplexes, apartments and condominiums, businesses, schools, and other government institutions.

Fire Lines Service Revenue
(<1% of our total revenue)
Revenue from separate Fire Line (FL) meters that customers pay to have available in the event of a fire.

Single Family Service Revenue
(68% of our total revenue)
The bulk of the District’s revenue.

2023 Projected Expenses

Capital Transfer Costs
(16% of our total costs)
Annual contribution to capital projects.

Debt Service
(13% of our total costs)
The cost of repaying bonds and drinking water state revolving fund loans.

Other Transfer Costs
(2% of our total costs)
Annual contribution for vehicle replacement and irregularly occurring activities.

Employee Costs
(26% of our total costs)
Employee salaries, benefits, training, travel, uniforms,
and testing.

Taxes and Franchise Fees
(11% of our total costs)
What we pay to the Cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park for providing water service to a portion of their residents.

Water and Power
(18% of our total costs)
What we pay to Seattle Public Utilities as the source of our water, as well as the electricity required to run our facilities.

O&M, Admin, and Customer Service
(14% of our total costs)
Costs of Operations and Maintenance (O&M), Administrative, and Customer Service include legal services, insurance, billing supplies, outside engineering services, vehicle maintenance, water meter maintenance, and repairing
water main breaks.

Balancing the Budget

One of the unintended consequences of conserving water is the impact it can have on District finances. Given that 93% of the District’s revenue comes from water use, decreased consumption can create a revenue shortfall. The District closely monitors and identifies necessary adjustments to avoid overspending—particularly given the ever-rising costs of operations and system maintenance.

The most logical way to balance the 2023 budget was to modify the timing of upcoming capital expenditures. Even thought we would love to do a number of capital projects next year and the following year, we will not start on new projects until we know the final cost of our current projects.

In light of all of the financial impacts of 2022, our adopted 2023 budget will include a 4% rate increase. We prefer making small, annual, incremental rate increases rather than waiting as long as possible to make large rate increases, in order to make your water bills as predictable as possible.

Please give us a call at 206.362.8100 if you have any questions.