TOWN HALL - SATURDAY, JANUARY 5, 2019, 10 A.M. PROPOSED TRANSITION OF THE CITY OF REHOBOTH BEACH WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY TO SUSSEX COUNTY

November 7th, 2018

At a special meeting on November 26, 2018, Sussex County officials proposed a transfer of the City of Rehoboth Beach wastewater operations. In order to fund the ocean outfall project, sewer improvements and upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, the city must raise rates. The city’s consultant, The Abrahams Group, presented water and wastewater rate studies at a November special meeting. Based on their suggested rate increases, commissioners requested that the county research the possibility of a Sussex County sewer distribution system to benefit the city’s residents and wastewater customers. 

If the commissioners approve of a transition of the Rehoboth Beach wastewater facility to the county, future necessary treatment facility upgrade project phases three and four, estimated at $18.4 million, and any transmission system upgrades, would be funded by the county. County-funded projects neither require additional city referendums or loans through the State Revolving Fund triggering wage rates. If approved by the commissioners, Sussex County would assume all municipal sewer related assets, liabilities and legacy obligations after district expansion. The county operates four wastewater treatment facilities with numerous licensed operators, electricians, and technicians allowing staffing options between facilities as needed. Benefits of transferring the wastewater facility to Sussex County include the use of excess capacity, engineering resources, and lower rates than if the city-funded improvements and debt obligations.

Currently, city residents pay an average of $581 annually for their wastewater service. However, The Abrahams Group concluded that the average rate must increase to $934 in Fiscal Year 2020 through 2023 (as shown in the chart below). The increase would pay for operations of the facility and the debt service of nearly $45 million of construction and improvements incurred with the ocean outfall and phases one and two of the treatment facility upgrades. With Sussex County operating the utility, those same Rehoboth sewer users would pay an annual rate of $687 for Fiscal Year 2020 and $709 by Fiscal Year 2023. Sussex County would directly invoice all sewer customers on an Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) basis, not a   metered rate. 

                                                  Current Sewer Rate    F/Y 2020    F/Y 2023

The Abrahams Group Rate Study          $581                $934           $934

 Sussex County Proposed Rate              $581                $687           $709

A town hall is scheduled for Saturday, January 5, 2019, at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed transition of the city’s wastewater facility to Sussex County. The meeting will be held in the Commissioners Room on the second floor of City Hall. For meeting information, visit cityofrehoboth.civicweb.net/portal/. To live stream the meeting, please click on the video button above the meeting agenda or by navigating to youtube.com/c/rehobothbeach. If you have any questions, please contact the Communications Department at 302-227-6181 ext. 522 or [email protected].