Water Resources

Rates, Fees and Affordability Programs Project


**UPDATE: This project received final approval from the City Council on 5/24/21**

Burlington's Water Resources Division is proud to provide many essential services, including the production and distribution of clean, safe drinking water to our residents and businesses.  In July of 2019, the Water Resources Division began a comprehensive effort to ensure that our utility had sustainable funding to maintain and enhance our high-quality level of service.  

The two primary goals of this proposal are equity, and affordability

Sustainable funding is crucial to ensuring access to clean water.  Burlington's water infrastructure requires ongoing maintenance, repairs, and generational upgrades to produce and distribute clean water to our users.  However, when utility costs become unaffordable, it can jeopardize access to the essential water needed to live.  

Our final proposal was designed to provide equitable costs based on user demand, expand and enhance affordability programs for our users along with allowing our robust operations and continued long term capital improvements to flourish.  Over the course of 2021, this plan was endorsed by the DPW Commission, Transportation, Utility & Energy Commission, the Board of Finance and received approval from the entire City Council on 5/24/21.      


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Process Overview & Presentation Materials

Phase 1: Initial Public Engagement/Education (October 2019-December 2019)

In this phase, we had two goals: 1) to educate the public about what services the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater utilities provide the City and 2) orient rate payers to the suite of options under consideration with regard to achieving financial sustainability and rate payer affordability.  As part of this process, we wanted to confirm alignment with some of the guiding principles and strategies of our study, as well as, gather new ideas from our users about areas we hadn’t considered exploring.  We hosted an open house in October and visited all the NPAs in November.

For more information about this project's original scope of work, click here.

Phase 2: Develop Initial Options for Rate Structure, Fees and Affordability Program and Report to City Council (2020)

In this phase we developed and then recommended a number of options to the City Council for restructuring the rates, creating or updating certain fees (one time or specific to a certain user group) to recover certain costs and creating affordability programs to ensure that income disadvantaged ratepayers can continue to access clean water.

Phase 3: Finalize Rate Structure, Fee and Affordability Programs Proposal (January 2021- June 2021)

Based on the outcome of Phase 2, the project team has recommended a final proposal for the new rate structure, fees and the very first customer assistance program to the City Council for approval.