One way to move the region forward with implementing sustainable water financing, is to offer training to water systems to address their needs. CMAP has partnered with several agencies to provide a suite of workshops to get community water systems on the road to sustainable rates.
Project Development, June 18 & 19, 2012, McHenry Government Center
The future growth and sustainability of your community is dependent upon your ability to plan, design, and construct needed infrastructure. This training, led by Illinois RCAP, is for those who have limited experience developing water infrastructure projects. This training has three sections, project planning, design, and construction. Project development starts with a realistic assessment of future growth and utility capacity. Questions such as: If your community has a master, or comprehensive plan, is the project consistent with proposed development patterns and identified land uses? Have you looked at demographic data for your community from a historic standpoint as well as future projections? Your assessment needs to be balanced if you want to avoid the "if we build it, they will come" trap.
You will learn how to define the problem, hire an engineer, analyze alternative solutions, select the most cost effective alternative, and evaluate financing options, assess the environmental impacts, establish a project schedule, and initiate a public participation process. You will learn how to perform necessary pre-construction activities to ensure the design of the project meets your needs, is affordable, involves infrastructure that you can successfully operate and maintain, and hopefully exceeds its useful life. You will learn how to sustain your planning though the final and most important phase- construction - Illinois RCAP will also be on hand to provide follow up technical assistance for communities.
Basics of Financial Management
It is critically important to preserve the value of a community's infrastructure investment – one of its larger investments dollar-wise and also one of the greatest generators of public benefit. It is of the highest importance that decision makers and managers ensure that water and wastewater facilities are operated as economically ad financially sustainable enterprises.
This training, led by Illinois RCAP, is for small communities to start down the path towards financially self-sufficiency – financial sustainability, setting rates that generate enough revenue to meet short and long term expenses. Proper financial management is essential to the continued provision of water/wastewater services to our communities. Participants will learn policies and procedures to develop a financial management framework for their utility, how to plan for their communities' future using the financial plan, capital improvements planning, financial records management for preparing annual operating budgets, and how to continue to monitor and provide oversight of financial performance using income statements and balance sheets.
Asset Management Training Workshop
This training, targeted to small and medium size utilities, combines asset management theory with a hands-on asset management workshop. The focus is on preparing an asset management plan and learning how to use applicable tools and resources. Participants will be introduced to asset management software, participate in a hands-on computer demo of entry level asset management software (CUPPS), and be introduced to several more advanced resources. Regional peers will share their asset management ‘success stories' and share their expertise.
Prior to attending the workshop, smaller communities should make sure that they have mastered the skills in the prior two training workshops (project development and financial management). This training is provided by a consortium of regional partners, including the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Illinois Indiana Sea Grant (IISG), Great Lakes Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Sustainable Infrastructure Team, and others.
This training, targeted to small and medium size utilities, explains the connections between the asset management plan, budgeting, and rate setting. The training goes through all the steps necessary to set rates, enabling systems to make better decisions. The timing of rate increases, designing fair and equitable rates, and how to actually implement the rate adjustment are all covered. Special attention will be given to the design and evaluation of rate structures, including conservation rates.
Prior to attending the workshop, smaller communities should make sure that they have mastered the skills in the prior two training workshops (project development and financial management). A previous workshop in asset management is also highly recommended. This training is provided by a consortium of regional partners, including the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Illinois Indiana Sea Grant (IISG), Great Lakes Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Sustainable Infrastructure Team, and others.
For more information, contact Margaret Schneemann, Water Resource Economist of CMAP at 312-676-7456.