Pittsboro City Council votes to accept struggling designation for water and wastewater utilities
Pittsboro, North Carolina – At a specially called meeting of the Pittsboro City Board of Commissioners on Thursday, June 30, 2022, the council unanimously passed a resolution formally requesting that the water and water utility the city’s sewers be designated as “distressed” under the state’s sustainable utility program.
Established by state law in 2020, the Sustainable Utilities Program is designed to enable water and wastewater utility systems that may be financially, organizationally, or operationally challenged to apply for additional funding to study rate structures and organizational realignments, as well as help pay for construction. projects to include revitalization, inter-system interconnections and utility system mergers.
The State Water Infrastructure Authority (SWIA) and the Local Government Commission (LGC) developed the Viable Utility Program criteria to assess local government units and identify potentially distressed units. The City’s most recent assessment revealed that, for the first time, our public services may be in trouble. The state did not impose the designation on the city, but did report that our assessment score placed us above the threshold for a distressed designation and allowed us to either accept the designation, provide a reasoning why the utility is not in distress or to take action to correct the concerns and reduce the score. After reviewing the City’s available options, the City recognized that the benefits of a distressed designation outweighed any disadvantages that might come with the title, including the possibility of being eligible for funding only available to units. in trouble.
By accepting designation, the City has agreed to conduct an asset assessment and rate study, participate in a training and education program, and develop a short- and long-term action plan that takes into account repair, maintenance and management of infrastructure, ongoing training of the board of directors and staff operating the system, and a long-term financial management plan.
The City has also agreed to provide adequate access to personnel, documents, equipment and other resources necessary to complete any future viable utility program projects and, once the projects are completed, to make an effort wholeheartedly to implement short and long term plans designed to ensure the viability of the system.
As updates on the City’s voluntary acceptance as a distressed unit become available, additional information will be released to keep the public informed.