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Austin Water is making headway in paying down its debt

Monday, December 18, 2017 by Jessi Devenyns

Since 2015, Austin Water has been grappling with paying down its debt. After two years and significant refunding to work down debt services, it may be arriving at its goal. “Our bad debt has been reducing over the last several years,” said Joseph Gonzales, utility budget and finance manager for Austin Water. Financials show 2017 as the first year where debt management services are displaying results: Austin Water paid $280,000 more toward its debt than it expected. Gonzales explained that it could do so because it had $23.5 million in surplus revenue for the quarter. This is noteworthy because due to Hurricane Harvey, for this quarter the utility “actually ended September about 7 percent below predicted consumption,” said Gonzales. Nevertheless, he explained that the combination of more consistent payment from customers and impact fees from construction has helped stabilize rates and allow Austin Water to increase the cash it has on hand. When all was said and done, Gonzales revealed that Austin Water “closed the year $20 million above projected revenue.”

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