Town of Brewster, Massachusetts
Section II - Public Works: 4501 Water Enterprise
The Water Department’s finances are managed as an enterprise fund. Accounting for the revenues and expenditures of the Water Department separately from the general fund allows the Town to effectively identify the operation’s true service delivery costs—direct, indirect, and capital — and set user fees at a level sufficient to recover them. Revenues in excess of estimated water receipts or unspent water appropriations closeout to a water surplus account at the fiscal year end. Water surplus must first be applied to indirect costs and then may be appropriated to fund water-related general and capital expenses or to reduce water rates. Under this accounting, the Town may reserve the Water Department’s generated surplus (referred to as retained earnings or special revenue fund reserve balances).
The Water Department consists of 9 field staff and 3 office. There are 135 miles of water main with 7,421 service connections to residential and commercial structures, 1,184 fire hydrants and 2,343 gate valves. Domestic and fire protection is maintained by two storage tanks with a joint capacity of 5 million gallons. The water is supplied by 5 wells and treated at 4 treatment facilities. Brewster Water Department produces approximately a half a billion gallons of water annually and has received numerous awards for the quality of the water and excellence in compliance.
The Brewster Water Department provides customers with safe, high quality drinking water that meets or exceeds U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) drinking water standards. The Department manages the physical infrastructure of the system including water mains, wells, and pumping stations.
The Water Commissioners are responsible for ensuring drinking water standards are met and that system revenue covers operations, debt service, and reserves. They are appointed by the Select Board.
The Water Superintendent is the professional municipal water supply manager who leads the day to day activities of the Water Department.
Accomplishments for FY2022
- Generator Project was put out to bid, construction funds were appropriated, and the project is currently in the construction phase. Most of the site work is complete, with generators expected to arrive in September of 2022.
- Great Fields Water Main project is complete. Water Department staff installed 3,000 feet of 8” water main resulting in approximately $300,000 in saving to the Town when compared to being installed by a private contractor.
- The 1st hydration station was installed at the White Caps Field. Additional stations have been purchased and are anticipated to be installed as time permits.
- Hydraulic Model was completed allowing the Town to evaluate existing infrastructure that may be impacted by climate change, such as sea rise.
- A Risk and Resiliency Study was completed and utilized to update the existing Emergency Response Plan. Both of these studies/plans were mandated by the EPA and will be evaluated annually.
- A new billing system was implemented to improve the reconciliation between the Water Department and the Accounting Department.
Goals & Initiatives for FY2023
- Complete the Generator Project.
- Install water main on Red Top Road (similar project to Great Fields).
- Continue installing hydration stations in select locations in town.
- Continue local and regional safety training. Create Standard Operating Procedures for daily work performed that incorporates the appropriate implementation of safety practices. This will be an ongoing initiative requiring annual updates of progress.
- Determine overall scope of the Master Plan update.
- The budget represents a $56,081 (2.03%) increase over the FY22 budget.
- Personnel Services increase includes contractual increases and the implementation of the Compensation & Class Study.
- There is an increase of $6,500 for chemical purchases, as the cost is expected to increase in FY23.
- There is an increase of $23,000 for electricity, as the cost is expected to increase in FY23 by 6%.
- There is a decrease of $6,000 for environmental monitoring, based on the anticipated sampling that will be required in FY23.
- There is an increase of $2,000 for meeting expenses, as these funds are being transferred from Lodging, Meals, Mileage and In-State Travel, all which are intended to be eliminated as a line item.
- There is a decrease of $5,000 for professional services, based on previous fiscal year trends and the current fiscal year status.
- There is a decrease of $12,000 for supplies, as these funds are being transferred to Repair and Maintenance Equipment and Repair and Maintenance Building.
- There is a decrease of $10,000 for tools and equipment, based on previous fiscal year trends and the current fiscal year status.
- There is a decrease of $3,000 for utility expenses for propane and natural gas - this is based on previous fiscal year trends and the current fiscal year status.
- There is a decrease of $1,000 for vehicle maintenance, based on previous fiscal year trends and the current fiscal year status.
- The Water Department is an Enterprise Fund and carries its' portion of property, liability & workers compensation insurance, health insurance, OPEB, pension and debt payments.
- Indirects were increased this year based on updated percentages and actual expenses.