City of Sheridan, SAWS joint powers board begin consolidation discussions

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — From a financial standpoint, consolidation of the Sheridan Area Water Supply system and City of Sheridan water is a win-win, according to Fletcher Davis of Hawksley Consulting . "It is very feasible that consolidation would save both SAWS and the city money," Davis said Tuesday. "Let's talk about what consolidation looks like," Davis continued. "The system is already inextricably connected. The source and supply is shared, the water treatment plant is shared, the storage tanks are shared, the distribution networks are shared. "What we have is basically a different set of administrative functions for the SAWS network and the city network that would basically be combined for the utility," Davis said. SAWS requested a financial feasibility study regarding the consolidation of the Sheridan Area Water Supply system with the City of Sheridan — and Davis gave a presentation on the study for the public this morning in the County Courthouse. "The joint powers board nor the city has made any decisions," Dan Coughlin of the SAWS joint powers board said, adding that both agencies are in the study phase to determine if a consolidation would make sense. The city's water fund projections include a rebound, Davis said, representing $15 million in total capital over FY16 and FY17. That includes: - Residential meter repair - Tank lid repair - Leopard Street water line replacement - Hydropower project The Debt service of the city's water fund is approaching $1 million annually by FY2022. That means that eight years of 1.23 percent annual rate increases must be made to meet revenue requirements, Davis said. SAWS fund projections are such that water usage is also expected to rebound, and the expected capital is $2.9 million in FY16 and FY17. SAWS also projects a $100,000 annual minimum increase in depreciation reserves, and four years of 2.11 percent annual rate increases to meet revenue requirements, according to Davis. A consolidated system would mean direct cost savings from SAWS as follows: Operating and maintenance costs: - $860,000 in SAWS payments to the city - $129,400 in Public Works Administration - $35,000 in professional services - $29,500 in accounting and financial services - $12,000 in legal fees - $2,000 in advertising - $1,500 in training Because the study only examined the financial feasibility of combining SAWS and city water administration, there are many steps in the process to complete. "There are all kinds of issues associated with growth and development," Dan Roberts, City Utility Director said, adding that for the time being, the city and SAWS have only looked at the finances. "We'd like to think we can create a win/win for everyone," Roberts said. *​**Fletcher Davis presents in the Sheridan County Courthouse today. / Pitchengine Communities* *Feature photo: City of Sheridan Wastewater Treatment Plant / Pitchengine Communities* #dally #news