Raftelis has a long history of working with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (District) which serves the Cleveland metropolitan area. Raftelis has provided alternative rate structure analyses and comprehensive financial planning services dating as far back as 2005. Our recent work with the District has been focused on billing, customer service, data, and software to support the reimplementation of the District’s impervious area fee, and the associated changes to its billing arrangements with third-party provider Cleveland Water Department.
In 2012, Raftelis began an engagement with the District on a set of data management, policy development, and financial analysis tasks. The primary effort was focused on building a billing database and related functionality to support the District’s Stormwater Management Program, which began billing in January 2013. The billing database supports communication with Cleveland Water Department, whose customer information system is Oracle Customer Care and Billing (CC&B). During the project, the Raftelis team enhanced the database to provide for ongoing maintenance of about 400,000 stormwater accounts, and numerous customer service and program reporting functions. Raftelis led a process to refine, update, and expand stormwater billing and program policies, partly driven by the results of several lawsuits, against which the District has successfully defended. The policy task involved internal stakeholder consultation and participation.
In response to these changes, Raftelis prepared a new stormwater financial plan, which incorporates refinements to the District’s stormwater program focus and allows for input on actual collected revenue to inform future revenue forecasting. As part of the effort, Raftelis worked with staff to update the stormwater financial plan that Raftelis had developed in 2008 as a subconsultant on the Regional Stormwater Management Program implementation project.
Following additional litigation, the fee was taken offline in 2013 and was dormant until the Ohio Supreme Court confirmed the District’s legal authority to manage the stormwater management program and to charge fees to recover the costs of that program, allowing the District to resume billing in 2016. Raftelis worked with the District to successfully reimplement stormwater billing, and developed a new web-based stormwater billing system to maintain stormwater billing data and manage stormwater group workflows at the District. The system went live in July 2016, and Raftelis is continuing to assist the District with refining the integrated stormwater billing system and processes during steady-state operations. Currently, Raftelis is helping to optimize reporting and metrics for fee administration and management across all stormwater-related departments at the District.
Raftelis’ other previous engagements with NEORSD, primarily rate- and financial-related, include: