Posts Tagged ‘Board of Trustees’

November 9, 2010

What is DMWW Doing to Control Costs?

DMWW sets water rates to adequately fund operation and infrastructure investments to ensure high quality water to our customers.  Even though water consumption has declined, the utility has experienced rising costs.  DMWW pays all of its operating expenses but is not collecting sufficient revenue to pay for the needed infrastructure improvements. Instead of taking on debt to invest in improvements, a water rate increase has been approved to help bring revenues in line with costs.

Costs increased 8% in 2009 due to treatment chemicals, system maintenance labor and materials, lime softening residuals disposal and employee benefits.  Staffing levels vary little in periods of reduced consumption.  Our treatment facilities and distribution system must be maintained regardless of the amount of water consumed. 

DMWW has a constant focus on containing costs.  Recent efforts to reduce costs include:

  • The addition of two treatment plants, one in 2000 and one later this year, resulted in only one staff addition
  • Customer pre-termination calls that have reduced field service collection cuts by 25%, thereby allowing field service staff to focus on other areas like more frequent testing of large meters
  • E-Statements to reduce the cost of billing
  • Automated processing of bills, thereby eliminating a nightly IT operator position
  • A work-from-home program for customer service resulting in handling more calls/account activity per customer representative
  • Coordinated with Polk County on a joint asphalt project that saved us $150,000
  • Reduction of senior management by 20%
  • A 0% salary increase to DMWW management team and professionals in 2010
  • Successful application for over $5 million in FEMA funding for riverbank repairs to protect our treatment plant collector well system
Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Infrastructure, Rates October 25, 2010

A Vote for the Creation of a Trust Fund-Not a Vote for a Tax Increase

Written by guest author, Marian Gelb, Executive Director,  Iowa Environmental Council

Iowa voters will have a historic opportunity on November 2, 2010, to vote for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy constitutional amendment. Protecting Iowa’s water and soil is at the heart of this amendment. Specifically, the amendment will create the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund which will provide a permanent, reliable and accountable revenue source to improve water quality and natural areas in Iowa. Funding will include fish and wildlife habitat and parks, trails, in addition to aiding in conservation of agricultural soils and restoring wetlands to protect against future flooding.

Recent data from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows that 53% of Iowa’s water sources rate “poor,” and Iowa currently loses an average of five tons of soil per acre each year due to erosion. Over 500 of Iowa’s waters have been deemed “impaired.” Funding to protect our natural resources remains at near historic lows. As of today, Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states in funding for conservation, despite the fact that more than 27,000 Iowa jobs are supported by outdoor recreation.  Nobody will dispute the fact that Iowa’s distinct character and our quality of life are directly tied to our state’s natural resources. Iowa’s parks and lakes receive more than 25 million visits each year, and our fertile soil provides the backbone to our economy.   

The stakes for Iowa’s natural resources on November 2 are incredibly high. We must act now. By passing this amendment in November, we can prevent the permanent loss of soil, water and wildlife and retain Iowa’s quality of life and natural beauty so our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can enjoy the state the same way we do.  The good news is, by cleaning up our water supply and conserving Iowa’s soils, we have the opportunity to actually leave the state to future generations better than we found it.

A vote for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment is a vote for the creation of the Trust Fund – not a vote for a tax increase. Revenue for the Trust Fund will come from allocating 3/8ths of one cent from sales tax revenue the next time the Iowa legislature raises the state sales tax. This funding recommendation was based on over three years of research and study conducted by a legislative advisory committee. The advisory committee concluded that those funds, in addition to annual state budget allocations, would meet current needs. Once created, the Trust Fund will be managed responsibly, including open, public competition for funding, mandatory audits and citizen committee oversight. 

The time is now to start investing in Iowa’s natural resources.  We have a proud history of farming, biking along the Heritage Trail, hiking the Loess Hills, fishing on North Bear, and teaching our sons and daughters to appreciate wildlife.  The quality and condition of our natural resources is the responsibility of all Iowans.  Please go to the polls on November 2 and vote YES on Question #1.

For more information on how to get involved: Mark Langgin, campaign manager for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, [email protected]; 515-707-0266.  Visit for more information.


The Board of Water Works Trustees supports the Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

Posted by: MGelb No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Conservation, Environment, Value of Water, Water Quality October 5, 2010

Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees

The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) has been providing potable water to Des Moines citizens since 1871.  In 1919, the private water company became a publicly owned utility, governed by a Board of Trustees.

Appointed by the Mayor, and subject to approval by the City Council, the five-member board is responsible for overseeing the Utility by establishing policies, authorizing contracts, approving annual operating and capital budgets, and performing duties required by law.

Meetings of the Board of Trustees are conducted monthly and are open to the public, unless authorized to be closed in accordance with state law. A majority vote by the board is necessary to pass any motion or take any action. Additionally, meetings of the board planning and finance and audit committees are conducted monthly.  Each meeting includes a public comment period. Agendas, supporting documentation, minutes and audio recordings of the meetings are posted on DMWW’s website.  Videos of the monthly Board meetings can be viewed on Channel 7 on Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m.

Current Board members are Robert G. Riley, Jr., Chairperson; David A. Carlson, Vice Chairperson; Mary C. Gottschalk; James M. Grant; and Susan R. Huppert.  Their bios are posted on DMWW’s web site.

If you have any questions for our board of trustees, please leave them in the comments section.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, History