The Amador Water Agency is undergoing major changes today – perhaps the most significant since the Agency was formed over 50 years ago to provide Amador County with a professionally managed water utility overseen by a publicly elected board of directors.
The Amador Water Agency was brought to the brink of bankruptcy by a combination of the economic recession, reduced water use, facilities at end of their useful life, needed replacement projects, outdated rates, and virtually no new construction to provide new revenue.
Financial stability for AWA benefits everyone in Amador County.
Here at AWA, it’s our job to keep your water faucets running with safe, clean water every single day. To meet that challenge and keep the Water Agency financially healthy, AWA Directors have put into action a plan which includes:
- Drastic budget cuts at AWA including a reduction of approximately 40% of employees;
- A simplified Agency-Wide Water Rates proposal to streamline administration, ensure fair distribution of costs and put the four AWA water systems in a stable financial position;
- Building a Gravity Supply Line which will eliminate enormous electrical and maintenance costs, and improve reliability for upcountry customers; and
- Community Facilities District in the Amador Water System to more fairly share the cost of facilities with future customers.
AWA has made drastic cuts.
In addition to cutting staff by 40%, the Board of Directors eliminated their own health benefits, cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from the budget, and employees have agreed to a third year of furloughs, salary freezes, and reduced benefits. Staffing is now stretched to the point where we are concerned about providing the level of service you have come to expect.
The Board of Directors will face more tough decisions.
If rate protests prevent the Agency from implementing the proposed Agency-wide rate schedule, Directors will have to make some tough decisions. Some systems have had no rate increases for up to six years, and currently do not generate enough revenue to cover the cost of operations. The Board may be forced to consider selling these systems to private firms – firms that can more easily raise rates to cover expenses.
Customers expect and deserve clean, safe, reliable water at the lowest reasonable rates possible and this multi-part plan ensures that the Water Agency will be able to do just that.