R3 was recently engaged by the City of Merced (City) to assist with the preparation of an amended solid waste and revenue Rate Study and 5-Year Financial Plan to meet the projected future expenses and obligations for municipally-operated hauling division over the coming five years. This study served as an amendment to the rate model R3 developed for the City in 2014, providing calculated rate adjustments following the City’s recently adjusted January 2019 rates and five scenarios with recommended rate adjustments to set forthcoming rates through January 2023.
Project tasks R3 conducted for this engagement included the following:
- Reviewing the City’s current utility policies, procedures, and regulatory requirements as they relate to the City’s solid waste collection operations, capital projects, revenue program requirements;
- Updating R3’s previous Rate Model and determining whether additional revenues were needed to meet projected expenses costs associated with residential, commercial, and/or development growth, and the possible expansion of collection programs, including commercial recycling and organics services;
- Developing alternative scenarios for adjusting rates to meet expense and revenue requirements over the planning period, and providing recommended rate adjustments for each scenario;
- Reviewing the City’s Municipal Code as related to the collection of solid waste and recyclables within the City; and
- Conducting a residential and commercial rate and service survey to establish benchmarks and analysis of how similar jurisdictions are setting rates and allocating services and expenses based on Proposition 218.
As a result of our work, the City gained the following benefits:
- Ability to project capital and operational revenues and expenses on a cost-of-service basis over an extended planning period, and analyze and set appropriate rates;
- Excel-based five-year Financial Plan and rate model; and
- Assessment of expenses related to implementation of new programmatic requirements in response to new legislation including AB 341, AB 1826 and SB 1383, as well as the requirements of Proposition 218.