Montgomery County Environmental Services (MCES) is a progressive utility organization providing water, wastewater treatment, solid waste, and recycling services to more than 250,000 residents and 6,000 businesses in the Dayton, Ohio area. With a focus on performance management, MCES was interested in developing and implementing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to: provide measurement of how they are performing; be utilized for future benchmarking; and guide procedural adjustments for the organization. Raftelis assisted MCES with the development and implementation of these KPIs. Together, we identified five organizational goals, and developed KPIs for each goal along with critical success factors for successfully achieving the stated organizational goals. A final set of KPIs were selected and communicated to the organization for implementation. These KPIs will provide MCES and its staff with metrics to help guide their activities in the future.
MCES understands that a successful strategic plan helps organizations to drive decision making and lead to continuous improvement. So, as part of their overall commitment to performance management, Raftelis also assisted MCES with the development of a strategic plan for the organization.
Working with MCES leadership, we created a blueprint for performance management implementation and worked with organizational leadership to institutionalize a culture of strategic planning and continuous improvement. Performance indicators were aligned to specific strategies using tactic workplans, providing a platform for accountability and measurement of success. The Raftelis team also built a customized performance management tracking tool that MCES can use to monitor performance and progress towards its stated organizational goals.
Using the organization’s strategic planning framework, tactic workplans, and performance management tool, MCES is now able to demonstrate success both internally and externally and identify areas for strategic improvement.
Concurrent with the strategic plan, Raftelis worked with MCES to develop a comprehensive capital and charge study to evaluate their current financial position and make recommendations that position the utility for long-term fiscal stability. MCES has identified significant capital needs to address aging infrastructure and to deliver reliable and safe service throughout its service area. The capital and charge study involved a comprehensive review of the utility’s financial performance over the past 10 years as MCES has dealt with significant reductions in water sales that have caused revenue stagnation despite rate increases. Raftelis worked with County and utility staff to develop financial policies that become guidelines for the financial plan, rate alternatives, and long-term decision making. Final rate and charge recommendations include a new, capital-specific charge aimed to recover a portion of the long-term capital needs of the systems. Raftelis is also working with MCES’s communications department to develop an assortment of cross-platform public outreach materials.
Solid Waste Rate Study
Raftelis assisted MCES with a two-phase, solid waste rate study. The first phase of the study included three components: 1) an information technology and business systems review; 2) solid waste rate benchmarking; and 3) rate development and financial planning. The primary task under the information technology and business systems review was to perform an audit of the County’s billing system. MCES was concerned that it wasn’t billing all of its customers and that it may have been incorrectly billing some of the customers that it was billing. One of the complicating factors is that MCES must rely on private haulers for billing information. The objective of the solid waste rate benchmarking was to identify the way other solid waste districts in Ohio and across the country charge for the services provided. MCES recovers about half of its revenue from tipping fees and half from annual property charges. The third component of this phase of work was to develop a multi-year financial plan and model for the solid waste enterprise fund. The model will be used to evaluate alternative charge methodologies and, ultimately, will become a financial planning tool which MCES uses for annual budgeting and capital planning.
The second phase of the study was to develop a customized software solution that minimizes the manual effort MCES employees need to make to ensure customers are being correctly charged. The system involves automatic incorporation of data from private haulers, coordination with tax database systems, and County accounting and budgeting software.
This study will help to ensure that the solid waste enterprise is financially stable into the future.