Kansas RATES Program
The Kansas RATES Program is for water, sewer and other utilities. GettingGreatRates.com (GGR), under the direction of the Kansas Rural Water Association (the Association), will perform comprehensive rate analyses and related work for utilities (you). In so doing, GGR will satisfy or exceed these performance standards. Utilities that have gone through the program so far are achieving these results.
GGR will discount their regular fees to Association member systems by 25 percent. The regular fees of GGR normally place in the bottom third of their comparable competition. Including the discount, it is unlikely you will find lower fees for a comparable comprehensive rate analysis. In addition, unlike other service acquisition approaches, this is a supervised program so your risk of not getting the assistance you need at the fees you expect is very low.
Your procurement policy may require you to request proposals from other service providers, too. In that case, it is recommended that you use the process laid out in the Rate Analyst Guide and this RFQ model so you can compare “apples to apples” and maximize your chances of getting the most appropriate analyst at reasonable cost.
GGR’s Rate Analysis Credentials:
- Since 1993, Mr. Brown has performed rate analysis, rate setting advisement, software development and system funding and planning,
- He has trained thousands of rate setting practitioners and local government leaders and managers around the U.S. and
- GGR uses a real data modeling approach to solving rate and finance problems.
See GGR’s references for more.
RATES Program services to your system will be tailored to the needs of your system. But, your project will probably unfold like this:
- To talk over your situation, call GGR at (573) 619-3411. If your rates do not actually need analysis right now, GGR will refer you to Association staff and other resources for handling issues appropriately.
- If your rates do need analysis now, and you desire it, GGR will scope your project. They will also find out if your system is a member of the Association and therefore, eligible for the discount.
- GGR will prepare a service and fee proposal for you, much like this smaller system proposal or this larger system proposal. The proposal package will also include a copy of Mr. Brown’s book, “How to Get Great Rates.”
- If you want to accept one or more services from the proposal you should notify GGR by phone or e-mail message. Unless you desire otherwise, GGR will use its proposal, your acceptance and the performance standards from the RATES Program as its “contract.”
- With your acceptance, work will start by acquiring data and information. Most of this is described in the “Data Needs Sheet.” You may not know what some of this data is or how to get it. Do not be concerned. GGR will guide you through everything.
- Following your desires and using your input, GGR will perform the analysis.
- Once the analysis is essentially complete GGR will e-mail you a proposed final report and analysis package, much like the rate analysis reports listed at the bottom of the previous link.
- When you and GGR arrive at a plan that suits you, you should present that plan to your board or council yourself if you feel up to it. If issues are complex you should have Mr. Brown do that presentation. Alternatively, it may be sufficient to have Mr. Brown participate by speaker phone during your meeting. The report package will serve as a “road map” to your system’s financial future. It will be an important guide for future planning and rate setting so you should keep it handy and refer to it often.
- The board or council will settle upon new rates and fees and adopt an ordinance or rule to make them effective. This is called the “initial” rate adjustment. Now you’re off and running with new rates.
- As the year following the initial rate adjustments progresses you should track the system’s financial performance. If it performs much like the analysis had predicted, and it probably will, no changes will be needed for the rest of that year.
- Each following year, preferably during budget preparation time, you should compare the system’s financial performance with the projections in the analysis report. If you are on track you should raise all rates and fees incrementally as recommended in the report and Chapter 9 of Mr. Brown’s book. If you are not sure of something, just call GGR.
- Finally, about five years into the future it will be time to start this process all over.
An important part of the RATES program is the “training” piece. Rate analysis only goes so far. YOU must do the work of actually adjusting rates, developing budgets, planning and executing equipment repair and replacement, and planning and executing capital improvements. To help you do these things well, GGR, in concert with the Association, will conduct a series of rate setting and related workshops for utility managers and decision-makers. By all means, attend if you can.
Now it’s time to find out if your rates are where they should be and, if not, what it would take to get them there. It’s time for Step 1 above.