Potential Fee Changes on the Horizon as Leesburg Considers New Five-Year Utility Rate Plan

In Leesburg, VA, the local Town Council is gearing up to deliberate on a proposed five-year utility rate plan, which includes adjustments to fees. This follows a presentation by NewGen Strategies and Solutions, LLC, a rate consultant firm engaged by the Town for a detailed water and sewer rate study, at the Council meeting on November 14.

The proposed plan is anchored on three fundamental principles:

  1. Ensuring the water and sewer enterprise fund is financially self-sustaining, independent of tax revenues;
  2. Maintaining sufficient reserves within the utility fund for unforeseen contingencies, emergencies, and unexpected expenses, thereby guaranteeing a reliable and secure water and sewer system;
  3. Setting water and sewer rates that fully cover the costs associated with service provision, including system monitoring, maintenance, and the crucial renewal and replacement of infrastructure, all in line with regulatory standards.

Under this plan, the average residential customer could see their rates rise by 4.1% each year. If the Council approves the plan, these new rates would be effective from the beginning of Fiscal Year 2025, starting July 1, 2024.

Utilities Director Amy Wyks commented, “The proposed rate plan is designed to generate adequate revenue to address the system’s needs, which have been impacted by both inflation and escalating costs.”

The hike in sewer charges is largely due to necessary upgrades at the Water Pollution Control Facility, aimed at enhancing solids processing and nutrient removal, in line with Federal environmental regulations.

The Town Council is expected to vote on amending the Town Code to set these new water and sewer charges, along with the required amendments, in their meeting on Tuesday, November 28. The community will have a chance to express their views during a public hearing scheduled for the same evening.