Joseph Ciurro, CPA, Administrative Services Manager
You’ve had an extensive and interesting career, please tell us about it.
Well, I’m not sure how extensive or interesting my career has been, but I definitely have unique experience. Out of college, I was fortunate to gain employment with a national accounting firm (Baker Tilly) where I joined the public sector group. We specialized in serving local governments, public utilities and school districts year-round. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, public accounting is phenomenal way to start an accountant’s career. I probably learned more in my time in public accounting than in any other portion of my career.
After five plus years in public accounting, I moved into the public sector industry as a Finance Director for a local municipality. I was able to use many of the skills I developed as an auditor, but there are some differences between a client’s need and the general public’s need. I learned that very quickly after having a few conversations with citizens once property tax bills were mailed. There are many different perspectives that a government has to be aware of, while attempting to serve the community as a whole.
Then, I had an opportunity to work in the State of Florida, escaping the cold weather that we experience here in Wisconsin. I served as an Assistant Finance Director/Chief Accounting Officer and a Director of Finance, respectively for two different cities. Those experiences illustrated the importance of communication with governing boards and between City departments.
After six plus years away from my home state of Wisconsin, I decided to return to spend more time with my family, who still reside here, and to challenge myself professionally. Waukesha Water Utility’s water project will supply safe drinking water to the citizens of this great city for generations. Opportunities like this do not come up very often in my profession and I am very excited to assist in this long-term solution.
The Great Water Alliance is a major water supply program. Being fiscally responsible is a major goal of the program. What is your role to ensure this happens?
In the Administrative Services Department, we are the financial stewards for the Waukesha Water Utility and that is something that we take seriously. To be fiscally responsible during this program, we need to make sure that we provide adequate funding for project expenditures, while maintaining a reasonable cost structure to our rate payers.
To accomplish that, we need to continue analyzing the Utility’s current cash flow needs and projecting what is needed in the future. We also need to have the ability to adjust when previously stated assumptions change. Most importantly, we need to understand that our rate payers are not just concerned with their water supply and return flow billings, but with the total utility bill (return flow, water, and sewer).
As such, we will focus on the total utility bill impact to our rate payers. Our goal is to smooth utility rate increases to the greatest extent possible over the time of this project and beyond.