Each year the Office of the Town Manager provides the Board of Selectmen with reports detailing financial results and other data from our Water Department as well as our Sewer Department. Those reports are below. The actions undertaken by the Board of Selectmen to eradicate the subsidy from taxpayers to water users has proven successful, with water operations now contributing, in 2020, $402,769 to water capital costs. In Water the Board action has eliminated what was an unsustainable burden on the municipal budget. Water usage overall was up by just over 1%, but that number is impacted by our reduction in the lost, unmetered water category. Residential use was up by 11%, and the Seabrook Station usage was up by 21%. Commercial usage increased at a negligible 1%. Obviously those numbers were impacted by the pandemic.
On the Wastewater side we have managed to cut, but not eliminate, the subsidy from the taxpayers. In 2020 that subsidy was just about cut in half from 2018, but remains at $617,849. Sewer flows declined in 2020, and the plant is currently being used at 35% of capacity. When combined with water the operational subsidy still exists, with a subsidy of $215,080 going from taxpayers to water/sewer operations. Before the Board action that subsidy was over $2 million.
The “subsidy” described is one that only deals with the “operational” budget, and excludes capital spending. If capital is included the taxpayers still provide a substantial subsidy. I will post the capital report that will show some of the numbers involved for all departments, including water and sewer.
These reports are provided annually to the Board to help inform budgetary decisions that will be made in the weeks to come. I will post an overall financial report, as well as a look at a nine year history of capital spending in Seabrook in the next few days. These reports will be presented to the Board of Selectmen on August 16, 2021.