Source: Trib Live
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County board members on Friday unanimously approved a new $105.2 million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that keeps water and sewer rates at their current levels.
The budget year, which begins in April, will be the second consecutive year the authority has held the line on rates. From 2016 through 2018, the authority increased water rates by 39%.
The budget approved Friday is identical to the proposed spending plan introduced in December.
The authority sells water to more than 121,000 customers in five counties. The utility’s water business has remained stagnant since 2014, having increased the customer base by just 1,200. Water sales are projected to account for nearly 80% of revenues next year.
The authority’s sewage business is growing. It listed just fewer than 4,700 customers in 2014 but, through the purchases of systems in Ligonier, Jeannette and Hempfield, among others, the customer base is more than 26,000 this year. The sewage business is expected to generate about $16 million during the new fiscal year, about 15% of the authority’s budget.
Other revenue — including royalties from the sale of natural gas, timber and property rentals for cell phone towers — is projected to generate about $5.6 million over the next 12 months.