Current Rate Increase Updates
2020 has been a difficult year for many, and Bristol Sewerage Disposal Corporation (BSDC) is not exempt from that. BSDC entered into 2020 losing money year over year since the prior 2017 rate increase, which was insufficient to fund a profitable operation. Legal fees year over year required to defend BSDC on the prior rate increase from litigation initiated by the BHVA contributed heavily to these losses as well.
Every year since the 2017 rate increase, as a condition of the Town Board’s prior rate approval, Annual Financial Reports of BSDC independently reviewed by certified CPAs have been submitted to the Town Board. Every annual submission detailed out the financial loss, and the books of the sewer corporation have always been open to the Town Board for their review and oversight.
The losses were as follows:
2017 – Loss of $178,312
2018 – Loss of $27,706
2019 – Loss of $19,853
2020 – Loss of $82,517
The board has had full visibility and knowledge of the financial condition of BSDC, when the most recent rate increase was submitted to them for review in August 2020.
Interesting Facts vs. Opinions
BSDC was originally formed in 1969 by prior owners, and well before the former resort and hotel were ever built. BSDC was not ever intended to be funded wholly or largely by a commercial entity, and it stands on its own a separate C Corporation, distinctly separate from Bristol Water Works Corporation or Bristol Harbour Resort Management, LLC.
Much has been said about the sale of the marina by the Cooks to the Fields and how it has affected the financial condition of the utilities. Prior to the Cooks owning the marina, the marina was never even on the customer billing role to the sewer corporation. Upon a review of the sewer district under the management of the Cooks, which identified the lack of marina billing, the marina was added as a billable entity of one unit. The marina has one bathroom, and that is the only billable entity of the entire marina. The marina was sold the Fields and still remains today as one billable unit. Therefore, the marina has never been, and never will be, financially impactful to the success of the utilities regardless of who owns the marina.
Due to COVID-19 and the devastating effects of it on hospitality businesses worldwide, the resort operations closed down and were demolished. The resort as a billable customer ceased to exist, further exacerbating the financial condition of BSDC. The sewer corporation, just as any other company that is in business, deserves to earn a profit and a reasonable rate of return on investment. In August 2020, BSDC submitted an application for a rate increase. Under Transportation Corporation Law, BSDC is required to submit any proposed rate increases to the Town of South Bristol for their review and oversight. The Town Board later held a public meeting which BSDC attended, along with BSDC legal and accounting staff, in order to properly answer any detailed questions presented to the corporation. No questions of any substance were asked by the Town Board. Further, no detailed evaluation of the rate was conducted following the meeting, and within the 90-day period from the submission date allowable by law for the town to react.
The only remaining option for BSDC to remain financially viable was to file an Article 78 case against the Town of South Bristol for failing to properly evaluate the rate requested. The response to this case was determined on Friday, March 12, 2021, and the results can be viewed using the button below.
While everyone has a right to their opinion as to what a proper rate should be, running a utility that has responsibilities to the customer base served as well as to the environment that we all share, carries with it a significant responsibility that is not to be taken lightly. BSDC takes this responsibility seriously, and it requires proper funding to operate this entity.
Bristol Sewerage Disposal Corporation