2023 Budget Focuses on Capital Projects

Posted Friday, October 21, 2022

Ongoing access to clean, safe water is critical to our economy, health, and way of life. Our community depends on this valuable resource and the infrastructure that connects, protects, and supports it.

To continue providing clean and reliable drinking water while maintaining and replacing the PUD’s existing assets, a rate increase of 5% or approximately $6.46 per billing cycle for the typical residential customer is proposed for 2023. With the rate increase, the average customer’s two-month bill will be $135.33, with 62% earmarked for funding capital improvement projects.

Multi-Year Financial Plan

In 2019, Skagit PUD engaged the services of FCS Group to complete a cost-of-service analysis and water utility rate study. The study provided the PUD with a sustainable, multi-year financial plan that meets the projected total financial requirements of the utility. Financial needs include expenses to operate and manage the water system, capital project funding, funds for new and existing debt obligations, and the fiscal policy goals established by the Board of Commissioners.

On October 11, the 2023 proposed budget was submitted to the board at a public hearing. The PUD anticipates spending $38 million on capital projects, such as completing the Judy Reservoir to Mount Vernon Transmission Line Project, PUD campus facilities construction, improvements to the Water Treatment Plant, and various pipe replacement projects.

“The 2023 budget implements the strategic objectives and Capital Improvement Plan that was adopted as a result of the rate study,” Finance Manager Brian Henshaw said.

“The budget continues and expands programs that preserve the life of infrastructure and assets,” Henshaw explained. “It invests in priority replacement projects identified in the CIP and, through resource conservation, allows us to maximize existing capacity and delay expansion projects until they are absolutely necessary.”

Rate increases would take effect for all bills on January 1, 2023.