Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 31

funding and resources as bigger cities.
Regarding pricing, Joly commented
that a yearly Waterworth subscription, is
a fraction of the cost of a traditional rate
study. It can also provide the needed information
much more quickly.
" By comparison, the last time I had
a rate increase and used an outside consultant
it cost almost $100,000 and took
nine months for us to hear back about
what we needed to do, " Smith said. " By
then, things had changed. "
With Waterworth, Smith can plug in
numbers to the model right when anything
changes away and see potential effects
in the short and long term.
" I could not function, frankly, without
Waterworth, in terms of my fi nancial
role, " Smith said. " It has made my job so
much easier, and allows the board to make
decisions based on the way things are.
" Our board has grown to depend on
it. When we have decisions to make, the
standard request is, 'What does Waterworth
look like?' "
Financial challenge
When Smith joined the district in 2011, it
was " fi nancially challenged, " he said.
Just before his arrival, a 36-percent rate
increase had been implemented across
the board, and when that wasn't enough
to make the district fi nancially sustainable,
a 42-percent increase followed.
" Th e public was screaming bloody murder
with huge increases like that, " he said.
Smith estimates between 125 and 150
people att ended the board meeting at the
time of the 42-percent increase, in 2015.
Virgin Valley, which has a service population
of about 25,000 - and growing - is
now in its third cycle of implementing
three-year rate increases using the Waterworth
model. Th e most-recent board
meetings have had less than fi ve members
of the public att end.
" Th e ones that came stood up essentially
to say, 'We appreciate you taking
a proactive approach, doing small incremental
increases and being prudent
about this,' " Smith said.
Th e model can grow and evolve over
time, factoring in additional data as needed,
to help clients closely examine rates
and make necessary changes litt le by litt le.
Waterworth's model allows for side-by-side comparison of different scenarios, letting Virgin Valley
Water District see how inflation would likely bankrupt it by 2027, if adjustments were not made.
(Photo courtesy of Wes Smith)
" Th is is a long-term game, " Joly said.
" For some communities it'll take a generation
to correct things. "
Implementing the cloud system involves
an initial meeting during which a
client's fi nancial data is collected to create
a baseline model. From there, the focus
is helping with quick wins by exploring
diff erent scenarios and putt ing together a
story about achieving the highest priorities
that can be taken to decision makers.
Th roughout the process, there is on
interactive partnership and engaging
with clients periodically, Joly said.
" At the end of the day, these communities
need more than just a tool; they
need some strategic oversight to know
how to think through this, and how to
communicate the issues in a way their
stakeholders can understand and buy-in
to and then make the decisions, " Joly said.
" I like to tell our clients, 'We're
mathematicians, fi rst and foremost, and
secondly we're communicators.' We're
really good at storytelling and helping
people get it. "
Waterworth has worked with 120
communities already and continues to
grow, with plans to focus on helping even
smaller communities, once it's more established
in the medium-sized segment
of the market. A sister service, Muniworth,
is also available to assist clients
with additional areas, including gas and
electric, recycling, airport and marina,
roads, general fund and more.
As with any process or technology
change, it can be diffi cult for people who
have been doing things the same way for
decades to imagine a bett er way, Joly said.
Smith agrees. He was a " litt le bit nervous "
when fi rst changing to the new
soſt ware.
" It can be a litt le bit scary or daunting, "
he recalls. " But Waterworth makes
it real easy, and in my estimation, it's
worth a look for an entity to be in control
of its own destiny. " UI
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Waterworth, (844) 349-2837,
waterworth.net
The cloud-based software program gives clients the ability to see as many or as few components,
at once, as they'd like such as cash position and target, non-operating revenue, debt service,
usage fees and more. (Photo courtesy of Wes Smith)
UndergroundInfrastructure.com | APRIL 2023 31
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Underground Infrastructure - April 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Underground Infrastructure - April 2023

Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - Tip1
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - Tip2
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 1
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 2
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 3
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 4
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 5
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 6
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 7
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 8
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 9
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 10
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 11
Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 12
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Underground Infrastructure - April 2023 - 52
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