The Johnston County Board of Commissioners approved JD Solomon, Inc and Black & Veatch for Phase II of the water & sewer regionalization assessment. The assessment includes 11 towns and 2 private utilities.
In separate contracts, JD Solomon Inc will serve as the county's project manager and coordinator and BV will perform financials and governance assessments. Overall, Phase II includes:
Organization Review – operations and governance review of people, processes, tools, technologies
Stakeholder Review - Identification of stakeholder groups that would be involved during the implementation of any regionalization scenario (state, elected officials, other jurisdictions, regulators, customers, bond counsels, etc.), and evaluation of communication support that would be needed
Financial Review and Feasibility Model – Capital Budgets, Operations Budgets, Rate and Fee Structures, and comparative analysis of likely regionalization partners
Regionalization can take many forms ranging from shared administrative service and emergency interconnections on one end of the spectrum to full mergers and consolidations on the other end.
Johnston County’s effort is the most comprehensive water and sewer regionalization effort in the Research Triangle region since Wake County performed a similar assessment nearly 25 years ago. Wake County’s effort resulted in over a decade of activities ranging from inter-local partnerships to full utility mergers. The regionalization effort continues to win quiet praise for maintaining the county’s quality of life.
Johnston County, which also operates a water & sewer utility, is performing the regionalization assessment with financial resources from its General Fund and an outside resource (JD Solomon, Inc) to lead the process. Once viable regional options are determined, the separate water & wastewater utilities will be expected to execute projects through their enterprise funds. Grants and loans from the State of North Carolina and federal incentives are expected to provide additional project resources to support utility ratepayers.
Johnston County is located in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina. Johnston County has a population of 225,000 and continues to be one of the state's fastest-growing counties. Black & Veatch is a 100-year-old engineering firm based in Kansas City and with offices in Raleigh and Charlotte. JD Solomon Inc has offices in North and South Carolina that provide program development, asset management, and facilitation services in eight states.