Category: General Information (page 1 of 22)

Water as a Service

Co-authored by Ashely Bleggi

At a recent conference, we asked utility managers and operators to tell us about their everyday communication challenges. Again and again, we heard that communicating with customers about the value of the service their utility provides was difficult, because too often, customers think about water as a good rather than a service. Customers see water all around them (even falling from the sky!), so it can be difficult for them to fully grasp the water cycle and all that goes into providing clean, safe, and reliable drinking water. To help overcome this challenge, we’ve put together some language to help utilities frame the value of the service that they provide in a simple (yet efficient) way.

Read on to see strategies and example language that your utility can use to communicate with the average customer who may not yet understand what they’re paying for through their water bill: Continue reading

2018 System Development Fee Law Changes

Guest  post by Kara Millonzi

This post was originally published to the School of Government’s Coates’ Canons Blog on June 26, 2018.

In the 2017 legislative session, the General Assembly specifically authorized all local government utility providers to charge upfront fees for water and wastewater services. The legislation, however, limited the types of upfront charges that could be assessed on new development within the unit’s territorial boundaries. A prior post summarized the new law and detailed the new procedural requirements for adopting upfront water or wastewater charges. This post details changes the legislature made to the law during the 2018 legislative session. These changes do not address all of the ambiguities in the SDF law but do clarify certain aspects of calculating, collecting, and administering the fees. Continue reading

Metrics to Determine Principal Forgiveness Eligibility: Highlighting EPA Region 4

The State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs have become a well-known financing option for many water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country. This is mainly due to the longevity of the clean water (CWSRF) and drinking water (DWSRF) programs and the appealing financing options, such as low-interest rates, offered in each state. However, many communities across the country still struggle to obtain this federal money, despite the borrowing incentives, due to capacity at the community level. In 2014, changes in the Clean Water Act permanently added an affordability section[1] to the CWSRF program. On the DWSRF program side, the American Recovery Act of 2009 required states to offer additional forms of subsidization to applicants, including principal forgiveness[2]. This brings up the question: What metrics are states using—or should consider using—to determine principal forgiveness eligibility for low-income communities? Continue reading

EFC Launches Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) Fellowship

At the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we strive to provide top-notch assistance to communities through training and applied research. But this training would not continue to be possible without educated and experienced environmental finance professionals. That’s why the EFC is dedicated to training the next generation of this industry’s leaders, in our offices and in the field. Continue reading

Are Floodplain Buyouts a Smart Investment for Local Governments?

Guest post by David Salvesen and Christian Kamrath

Hurricane Matthew, which struck North Carolina in October 2016, reminded us of just how vulnerable North Carolina is to flooding.  Torrential rains caused severe flooding that breached levees, closed major roads and inundated entire communities.  Thousands of homes in the eastern part of the state were destroyed. Continue reading

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