December 20, 2001
MDC RATE-SETTING RULES
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You wanted a description of the rules governing how the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) sets water rates.
The MDC supplies water and provides other services to eight member municipalities—Bloomfield, East Hartford, Hartford, Newington, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor. It also serves parts of eight other municipalities—Cromwell, East Granby, Farmington, Glastonbury, Manchester, Portland, South Windsor, and Windsor Locks. The MDC was created by Special Act 511 of 1929, which has been amended several times. The special act serves as the MDC's charter.
The MDC's water rates are a key component of the MDC's budget, which is subject to notice and hearing requirements under the charter. The annual budget cycle begins in late August. In late October, MDC delivers proposed budget estimates to the district board, officials in member municipalities, and others. The proposed budgets are delivered to the town halls and libraries in these municipalities.
In mid-November, the MDC's finance board has budget meetings with officials of member municipalities. The finance board and the MDC Water Bureau hold a public hearing, as required by Section 2-14 of the charter, on the proposed budget and any water rate changes. (Rate changes take the form of a revision to MDC's ordinances.) MDC must publish notice of the time and place of the hearing twice in a local paper. The first notice must run between 10 and 15 days before the hearing and the second at least two days before the hearing. In practice, the notification takes the form of a legal notice in the Hartford Courant. The to the ordinance must be filed in the clerk's offices of the member municipalities.
In late November, the finance board acts on the budget and the Water Bureau acts on the rate change. The MDC then publishes a newspaper notice of the budget for three consecutive days. In early December the MDC Board of Commissioners adopts the budget, which is subsequently distributed to officials of member municipalities. The MDC website has a page, http://www.themdc.com/customerrates.htm, that describes its current rates.