Denver Wastewater Management Division

Denver, Colorado, United States

Raftelis conducted both an organizational assessment study and developed a financial plan for the City and County of Denver’s Wastewater Management Division (Division) within the Department of Public Works. The Division provides separate sanitary and storm sewer conveyance for 155,000 customers utilizing over 1,500 miles of sanitary sewers and 800 miles of storm sewers.

Organizational Assessment Study

In response to rapid growth and the expected initiation of significant capital projects, Raftelis was asked to assess work practices and staffing levels to ensure operational effectiveness matches the Division’s world-class efficiency. The study included the following activities:

  • Understanding the Division’s strategic goals and cultural values and how they impact the performance of the organization
  • Reviewing the structure and function of Division staff
  • Reviewing the capital projects management section for effective delivery of capital projects
  • Ensuring staffing levels allow for proper succession planning to minimize the loss of institutional knowledge with the retirement of key personnel
  • Assessing practices and policies for workforce staffing, assignments, and management
  • Conducting workshops with Executive Staff to garner feedback on the progress of the organizational assessment
  • Enhancing the Division’s financial planning model and completing financial planning, capital project, and capital funding scenarios

As part of the organization assessment study phase, Raftelis conducted nearly 50 one-on-one and group interviews in an effort to identify areas of opportunity in which the Division may improve. Throughout the study, Raftelis worked closely with the Director of Public Works and Executive Staff to ensure complete transparency and to receive on-going input.

Study findings included changes to the organizational structure and operations supported by Division management. Working within the current allotment of budgeted full-time equivalent employees, the final recommended organizational changes will result in:

  • Improved organizational effectiveness to achieve balance with its efficiency
  • Development of an asset management program to more effectively direct maintenance and capital activities
  • Enhanced succession plans
  • Improved communication to groups external to the Division
  • Improved technology utilization
  • Positioned the District for future needs

In addition, several recommendations covering such topics as capital project prioritization, hiring practices, and intra-organizational cooperation were also included.

Financial Planning

Concurrent with the organization assessment study phase, Raftelis assisted the City in completing a 10-year financial plan for the City’s wastewater utilities and proposed rate revenue adjustments effective July 1, 2016. The City’s financial planning model was enhanced with additional capabilities including a graphical dashboard and user interface, scenario capabilities, and capital funding alternatives. Raftelis worked with City staff to review and refine a variety of capital improvement project alternatives and funding options to develop recommended alternatives for consideration by the City.

Proposed sanitary sewer and storm drainage utility rates for service were developed for the five-year period of 2017 through 2021 and presented to and adopted by City Council in May 2016. The final report summarizing the financial planning phase was issued following adoption by City Council.

Subsequent to the rate study, Raftelis prepared a bond feasibility analysis that was included in the Official Statement of a successful bond issuance.