Bryant Water Rates
The City of Bryant remains Central Arkansas' premier community to call home.
Our children experience the best in education with the offering of a top-rated school district, beautiful park amenities that are continually being improved, top-performing public safety departments, and access to a safe, reliable, and clean water supply that is envied by other communities.
Without a doubt, our residents have come to expect and deserve a certain qualify of life in our city.
A critical and essential aspect of maintaining that quality of life is robust water and wastewater system. It is the very basis of building a healthy community. Our water supply not only supports Bryant residents, but our local industries must have an environmentally responsible water infrastructure in order to keep their businesses located in Bryant. Our school systems and public safety also require reliable and safe water to keep our community safe and moving forward.
Thankfully, the Bryant City Council set a process into place over a decade ago to ensure we continue to protect this essential amenity. By requiring an outside review every three years of our water/wastewater system and rates we know we placing the best investment possible into building a water and wastewater system that our children and grandchildren will be here to enjoy.
The most current water/wastewater adjustment study was presented to the Bryant City Council in November of 2020. You can review this presentation by clicking HERE and going to the 29:00 minute mark on the video. The rate recommendations are currently still under review by the city council. If you would like to stay informed of any city meetings or meeting agendas, simply sign up today for Notify Me .
Frequently Asked Questions
It seems like this is a bad time to look at a rate change; why now?
The city has taken a very proactive approach to water rate studies by implementing a system requiring an independent review firm to perform a water and wastewater rate study every three years. This assists us in our pursuit to avoid large increases and to ensure a long-term strategy for infrastructure repair and maintenance. By ordinance, 2020 was the year scheduled for this review, which showed a shortcoming in revenues to meet the financial needs of the water/wastewater needs of Bryant.
Why use an outside contractor to review?
Health and safety guide the city’s decisions. Additionally, Bryant self-monitors its infrastructure in accordance with water/wastewater ordinances to ensure transparency and minimum cost to citizens. An independent audit firm further guarantees that information as infrastructure needs, water rates, revenues and expenses are reviewed objectively to keep the quality of life that our citizens expect when they make Bryant their home.
Why are our rates so high compared to some other cities?
Many other cities have an electric utility company or other resource that can offset rates in one department with revenues from another. An appropriate comparison would be to look at cities similar to our growth pattern, such as Fayetteville. Fast growth and strain on existing infrastructure is a factor, and our pricing is in line with cities that are fortunate to experience the same growth challenges as Bryant. Click HERE for a comparison graph.
Why is there a consent administrative order?
For many years, the city tried diligently to maintain the lowest water rates possible for its citizens. But, as rapid growth continued at an astounding pace, the development placed significant stress on the city’s aging, existing water/wastewater infrastructure. And as a result, sewer overflows occurred at Bryant’s wastewater treatment facility. Due to the issue, ADEQ fined the city and issued the current consent action order. This order placed a requirement on the city to complete certain repairs within a set deadline or face additional fines or risk the state agency performing the repairs and passed the costs to Bryant. For a timeline and history of the CAO click HERE.
So, why does that affect my rates?
This consent action order requirement forces the city to actively repair and upgrade the wastewater collection system on an accelerated schedule. Typically, the city spreads repairs needed over a multiple-year period to keep citizen billing costs as low as possible.
Why is there a larger adjustment the first year?
Presently the City's water and wastewater fund are not quite recovering all of their costs. This is due in part, to the review that was completed in 2017 not containing correct projections for the city council to make adequate adjustments at that time to cover the water and wastewater operations. Our current review firm recommends a larger adjustment the first year to make the system "whole" or to place us on solid fiscal ground to cover our obligations and costs. The lesser adjustments will then cover the future forecast increases in operating and capital costs. To help see the change, here is a sample copy of an average customer bill.
When will the consent administrative order be lifted for the city? Once it ends, will our bills decrease?
The Consent Administrative Order (CAO) required Bryant to submit to ADEQ a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that evaluates the existing wastewater infrastructure and outlined a seven-year plan (beginning in 2018) to implement the repairs and improvements. If successfully implemented, the city may request the termination of the CAO. Once completed, it may be possible to lower sewer rates.
If the city council chooses not to adjust the rates, how does that impact residents?
The city strives to keep the level of service to citizens at the level expected from a city that offers the quality of life enjoyed by our citizens. This requires a proactive approach to implementing repairs and improvements to infrastructure systems before a situation becomes an emergency. Without the adjusted water/wastewater rates, the public water and wastewater utilities will operate in a deficit spending budget, limiting preventative repairs leading to more emergency repairs and unscheduled outages. That would cost citizens much more than the proposed rate adjustments.
Will the city have to use any emergency funds if this rate adjustment is not passed?
Yes. Funds in the city’s reserves are allowing the water department to meet budget requirements for the first quarter. During the February city council meeting, the council approved a budget adjustment of $900,000 to make up for the deficit expected for the first quarter. If a rate adjustment is not approved, the request will be for the same amount to be pulled from savings in the second quarter this year. This impacts the amount of money available for other projects throughout the city.
Has the city considered getting a second opinion on this report? If not, why?
Yes. The city council did request and received a second opinion that validated the initial report.
So, how much will my bill change? Based on the Bryant Rate Study recommendations, for the average Bryant user who uses 4,000 gallons per month, the adjusted amount will be approximately $5.28 per month in 2021. In 2022 there will be an additional adjustment of around $3.20 per month, and in 2023 another adjustment of about $1.34 per month. These rates could be less as progress is made on the consent order and/or wholesale water costs.
Ex: Current Water/Wastewater Customer at 4000 gallons pays $58.13 (Including taxes, FSDWA, Wastershed and Stormwater fees)
2021 that bill will change to $63.96 *53.98 -Senior Discount
2022 that bill will change to $67.16 *57.18 - Senior Discount
*estimated cost at the senior discount for standard water/wastewater customer
Is Bryant researching other options for water supply and/or wholesale distribution?
The City of Bryant is a member of the Saline County Regional Water Authority, which strives to find additional water sources. Current planning is underway to seek a connection to the Ouachita River for a water source for Saline County. This has been on the long-term plan for the city for several years. Recently, a few city council members have requested a meeting with Central Arkansas Water to consider a proposal to allow the outside utility to operate the water portion of Bryant’s waterworks. Bryant will schedule that meeting in the future.
Since Bryant is a highly attractive place for new construction and businesses, why not increase fees on building and business permits to offset customer increases?
These steps were already taken in an attempt to delay the current rate adjustment needs but did not reach the level of revenue needed to avoid the rate adjustments.
Why does this rate adjustment not sunset?
There is no reason to set a sunset for the adjustments as the city reviews water/wastewater costs on a yearly basis. This information is shared during department reports and the budgeting process with the city council. If a significant change occurs, the city council can approve an adjustment to the rates.
Deposit Rates for New Service
2018 Water Rates *
* These rates will be reviewed in 2020.