Week 1 (Jan 14-18)
The first day at the internship I spent my time reading through old water and sewer rate studies and read through old books on how to perform a rate analysis. These were both very helpful in helping me to understand the process of collecting all the data I would need and how to analyze the information I gathered. The books that I was provided showed me different ways in which we could charge for water use, which will be interesting to see if I will be given the chance to completely restructure the rate tiers or if I will just be increasing the current rates. The latter part of the week I spent doing more reading from the books Joe provided me. I then created a list of twenty like communities that we will be comparing to Gunnison’s water rates. I began going onto websites for each community to find their water and sewer rates or contact information for the Finance Department.
Week 2 (Jan 21-25)
This week we had Monday off for Martin Luther King Day so I only was at the office Wednesday and Friday. I continued going on to the websites of the like communities to find their water and sewer rates. Some of the rates were very hard to find, or I couldn’t find them at all, while other communities had links to their rates on their homepage. Once I found the rates, I printed them out and filed them for once all the information was gathered. I also made note of the contact information for the finance department of each city just in case I did not get enough information or I had a question in the future. For the communities that I could not find rates for, I constructed an e-mail that I sent out on Friday.
I am an intern for the City of Gunnison, Public Works Department, working on a rate analysis of water use. I am writing this request to municipalities which have similarities to the City of Gunnison for the purpose of obtaining information on your sewer and water rates for commercial and residential use as well as water and sewer tap fees.
I have been able to find this information on some city/town websites, so if this information is available on-line I was unable to find it and would greatly appreciate a response as to where I should be looking. If not, could you please fax (970-641-8021) or e-mail the information as a reply to myself (the above address) or to my supervisor, Joe Doherty (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I would like to thank you for your assistance in this matter and this department will be more than willing to reciprocate to any similar requests that you may have in the future.
I will be looking for the responses to the e-mails on Monday and making sure I have all of the data collected that I will need from each of the like communities.
Week 3 (Jan 28- Feb 1)
This week I spent compiling all of the data I had received. Any community that did not respond to the e-mail was called. Once I had all of the rates, I began to make a couple charts in Microsoft Excel. The first chart showed what each community charged as a base rate (for both residential and commercial as most communities have different rates). I then figured out what each community billed for 5,000 gallons of water, 10,000 gallons of water and 15,000 gallons of water, once again for both residential and commercial rates. I chose to calculate at these numbers because this is where the City of Gunnison tiers their water rates (tier 1: 0-5,000 gal, tier 2: 5,001-10,000 gal and tier 3: 10,001-15,000). With this table, I will be able to compare the rates of other communities to our own. Some of the rates were at a fixed rate and therefore no math was involved, but some were more difficult. For instance, lots of smaller communities bill on a quarterly system and therefore I had to calculate what they were being charged on a monthly rate.
After completing this chart, I began to make my second chart, with all the same communities. This chart told what the communities were charging per 1,000 gallons used at 5,000 gal, 10,000 gal and 15,000 gal. Once again, I chose these values because that is where the City of Gunnison changes their rates. These two charts together are all that I will need to compare Gunnison’s water rates to those of other cities. I also found and printed out a rate study report on the City of Salida’s website. They had a chart like mine, comparing the rates in Salida to like communities, and I will also be able to use their rate analysis as a reference when I am trying to write my proposal.
This week Joe also gave me an article to read in Headwater’s Magazine that was talking about the water rates in Colorado. The article focused on water rates in the Front Range, but explained the significance of fixed and tiered water rates. After talking with Joe, we have decided not to change the system currently in place, but to increase the current system at rate of x%.