Investing in clean water - where does your money go?
Wastewater infrastructure is crucial for protecting water quality and economic vitality, and supporting jobs and growth while maintaining our region’s natural assets like beaches, lakes and rivers.
King County's wastewater utility is entirely funded by the ratepayers who invest in our programs and services through their monthly rate and capacity charge bills. We take seriously our obligation to provide the highest levels of service and accountability to our ratepayers.
Standard & Poor's and Moody’s Investor Services are leading global financial firms that rate corporate stocks and municipal bonds according to risk profiles. In 2013 the firms confirmed the ratings of the Wastewater Treatment Division’s bonds, citing:
- Strong management practices
- Continued positive financial performance
- Solid rate base and large service area
- Commitment to a capital improvement plan
The Moody's rating for the sewer revenue bonds remained at Aa2 while the Standard and Poor’s rating was maintained at AA+ . These continued favorable credit ratings lower the cost of borrowing by reducing the amount of debt service, which, in turn, reduces impacts to the rate.
The wastewater utility undergoes an annual audit to insure that its annual financial results are fairly stated and that all covenants with the utility’s bondholders have been met. The audited financial results are here.
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King County’s adopted wastewater budget for 2014 includes about $342 million in revenue from the monthly sewer rate and about $51 million in revenue from the capacity charge. The 2014 budget also includes about $1.3 million from investments and about $35.8 million from other income such as fees for industrial waste permits, septic waste processing and rate stabilization funds.
King County also borrows bonds to fund the cost of construction projects under its capital improvement program.
Of the total revenue (about $429.5 million), the Wastewater Treatment Division is budgeted to spend about $128 million to operate and maintain its facilities and about $148 million for planning, designing and building facilities.
In 2014, the $429.5 million in operating revenue is allocated as follows:
Source: page 13 of Ratepayer Report, April 2014
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