Streamline - Fall 2013 - (Page 7)

FromThePresident BY PAM BAUGHMAN, VRWA PRESIDENT Legislative Relationships IN FEBRUARY 2013, a team consisting of Virginia Rural Water Association staff and board members went to Washington, D.C., to talk with House and Senate representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is something that takes place annually and can be both rewarding and frustrating all at the same time. I encourage everyone to contact their representative and build a relationship with them. Invite them to visit your facilities. This year our first visit was with a legislative aid from a Northern Virginia district. The gentleman was very gracious and we spoke for quite a long time. However, the longer he spoke, the more frustrated I became. The gentleman started off by telling our group how much he appreciated our work in the water and wastewater industry. He proceeded to say that the federal government has been funded by continuing resolution for so long, he wasn’t sure how the budget process even worked anymore. He stated that government programs would soon be sequestered, governmental agencies would realize spending cuts and government employees would be furloughed one day a week. He went on to make a comment about the differences between “urban” and “rural” Virginia. While the other legislative team members spoke about all of the wonderful things VRWA does for our membership, how we hope to continue providing those services and how our membership in the water and wastewater business need our help, I sat patiently (and for those of you who know me, it wasn’t an easy wait). Then it was my turn to speak. I asked him if he and his boss – “the congressman” – were sent to Washington, D.C., to do a job and if preparation of an annual budget was part of that job. Every rural utility prepares an annual budget, and – get this – they have to live within those budget constraints. Most rural utilities budgets are regulation driven and, in many cases, new regulations are imposed as unfunded mandates. With complete confidence, I stated that “the congressman’s” salary was three or four times that of a water or wastewater operator, and that operators go for years without receiving a raise. Many of the operators are now paying for larger and larger shares of their benefits, such as the burden of the costs for required licensing and continuing education training, and the cost of living continues to rise. And don’t forget, this is a seven day a week, 365 day a year job. In conclusion, I said both “rural” and “urban” Virginians depend on each other. Approximately 80 percent of all water consumed in “urban” Virginia flows though “rural” Virginia. Food is grown in “rural” Virginia and most manufacturing takes place in, you guessed it, “rural” Virginia. Ultimately, are we not all Virginians… Americans? I encourage everyone to contact their representative and build a relationship with them. Invite them to visit your facilities. Until they understand who we are, what we do, where we do it, when we do it and how we do it, nothing will change. If there is anything VRWA can do to help, please let us know. If there is something you would like to see us do or something you would like to see us do differently, please let us know. Do not hesitate to call on your Virginia Rural Water Association! 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2013

From the President
From the Executive Director
Acronyms – Today’s Language
Drought or Flood?
Can Changing Your Plant Lighting Save You Money?
Source Water Protection Notes
Aging and Failing Infrastructure
Time for Some R&R
EXPO Coverage and Recap
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Wastewater Math
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefi ts
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are
Welcome New Members
VRWA Mailbag
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Fall 2013