Over the past few years, SERCAP’s Regional Department has worked with the Town of Port Royal in Caroline County, VA, along with other community partners, to move their water system from a dilapidated, fiscally distressed state, to one with new facilities and a management approach that promotes fiscal and operational sustainability. As part of this system overhaul, in the Spring of 2020, SERCAP completed a Rate Study on behalf of the Town, in order to assist them in establishing a more sustainable financial model for their water system. Water rates have been changed from a “Flat Rate” billing system, to a metered, consumption-based system that charges each customer based on their actual water usage. The new rate structure, includes: reserve accounts for debt service, funding for operations, and a new capital improvements account. SERCAP also assisted the Town with developing updated water policies to accompany the change in rate structure, which was adopted at a public hearing in June 2020.
Currently, SERCAP is working with the Town to collect data for a GPS/GIS Mapping of the Town’s utilities. SERCAP’s GIS Specialist worked with the Town’s Design Engineer Consultant to acquire Engineering Data in CAD (Computer Aided Design) format, allowing SERCAP to import the data into mapping software, reducing the need to be onsite for the GPS data collection. Once the mapping is completed, SERCAP will begin to develop an Asset Management Plan, which will allow the Town to better understand the long-term financial needs for its water system. This information and understanding will aid the Town in future financial and managerial decision-making for its utilities.
The positive long-term impact of this project will be the improvement to the overall Quality of Life for the residents of the Town of Port Royal, due to the improvement of both their Environmental Health and Economic Self-sufficiency through the Town’s improved water infrastructure. This specific project will positively impact the Environmental Health of the residents by: 1) providing them with an efficient and sustainable water system, and 2) by reducing their risk of waterborne illnesses, that could potentially have been caused by contaminated water from an aging, dilapidated system. The project will further positively impact the Economic Self-sufficiency of the Town’s residents by increasing the value of their personal property. The project will also improve the Economic Self-sufficiency of the community-at-large, through the improvement of their local water system which will allow for increased Economic Development and Small Business Growth within the Town of Port Royal.
*Funding for SERCAP’s Regional Department is made possible by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Community Services’ (OCS) Grant, USDA RD’s Technitrain Program, the Drinking Water Compliance Grant through the EPA, and the EPA Private Well Grant. Additionally, all of SERCAP’s programs and services in Virginia are leveraged by a Budget Appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD).