June 14, 2002
By Fax: 941 4837

The Honorable Mayor Austin, Trustees & Village Manager
Village of Briarcliff Manor

Water: Pumped vs. Billed Yr. 2001 Annual Water Report vs. F2001 Financials

Gentlemen:

According to the undated year 2001 Annual Water Report received in the mail on June 13, 2002, water pumped into distribution amounted to 78,075 thousand cubic feet. (1.6 mgd x 365 days, divided by 7,480 gallons per thousand cubic feet).

According to the F2001 Village Annual Financial Report, departmental income was $2,558,000. Assuming that this amount includes, say, $25,000 of connection service charges ($10 per household), the water billed from water meters could be in the order of $2,533,000. Using the Water Report rate of $44.63 per thousand cubic feet, estimated quantity billed from meters could be 56,756 thousand cubic feet.

In other words, there is a difference of some 21,000 thousand cubic feet of water to be accounted for, or some 27%.

In my memo to you, dated July 19, 2001, covering the year 2000, I made the below observations.

1. The actual billing rate per thousand cubic feet was greater than $44.63, due to connection service charges, but the difference is not material for the purpose at hand. The report of year 2001 has the same minor omission.

2. The difference between pumped and used, which I referred to as “leakage”, amounted to 18 %.

3. As an order of magnitude, if the leakage could be reduced by, say 50%, annual variable cost savings could be some $40,000.

4. The Water Consultant opined that water meters could be faulty. If this proves to be true, and if under-billings were in the magnitude of 50% of the total leakage, the annual savings could be in the $200,000 range. By this I meant that some users would pay more and other less. Parenthetically, as an afterthought, if water rates were not adjusted downward, the undesignated surplus could rise most significantly.

 

The Water Consultant has stated at a BOT meeting that an 18% leakage was normal. Nevertheless he was instructed to investigate and report back to the BOT. To my knowledge he has not done so.

Several months ago, with patience and understanding, I reminded the BOT that no report has been forthcoming. Although the Village Manager was requested to follow-up, his findings have not been made public.

The unaccounted for potential difference now appears to be materially greater – 27% vs.18%, so that conceivable benefits from reduction of the leakage, using proportionality, could be 50% greater.

Consequently, the BOT should consider requiring an explanation as soon as practicable. Surely, a year is too long to leave such an important matter in abeyance.

Environmentally, if theoretical leakage can be reduced by 50% throughout the water region, we would not now be experiencing a regional drought alert. This is of course, beyond the control of Briarcliff.

There have been some large construction projects in Briarcliff during the year 2001 and there may be a continuation of this condition. Such land developments have an unsatiated need for water. We have been publicly assured that meters are used in such developments and I have no reason to believe otherwise. Nevertheless, given the frailty of human nature, it would be prudent to continue to be vigilant and verify continuously that adequate controls are in place to promptly detect unauthorized use of Village water.

I again suggest that, as a general matter, an organized check list of important open action issues be maintained and status periodically reviewed by the Mayor and Trustees.


Very truly yours,

Nicholas Evanchik