EID’s Board majority says they have cut spending “to the bone.” General Manager Jim Abercrombie cumulatively claims he has saved over $20 million from assorted actions for ratepayers and that the last three EID budgets have been “flat,” “nearly flat,” and “nearly identical.”
Somehow these claims are contradicted by EID water rates increasing 102 percent from 2010 to 2015.
Here are the facts:
• EID personnel, materials and services spending has increased 13 percent from $40.4 million in 2010, Abercrombie’s first full year as General Manager, to $45.7 million budgeted spending for 2013.
• $3.1 million of accounting gimmicks obscure much of the gross $5.3 million spending increase for personnel, materials and services.
• Employee benefits and paid time off now average $49,000 annually per employee and account for more than 30 percent of rates.
• Unfunded pension and retiree medical liabilities have grown another $6 million to $53 million since Abercrombie became General Manager, even after a $6 million payment from EID reserves in early 2012.
• EID plans to raise $60 million new debt within 12 months to continue its $15 million per year deficit spending. This will require another 8 percent of rate increases.
Rather than “flat,” “nearly flat,” or “nearly identical” spending, the 102 percent of rate hikes prove that EID ratepayers are being victimized by EID’s non-abated “fat” spending.
Until EID Board members direct General Manager Jim Abercrombie to implement real bottom line cost cuts and to eliminate the smoke and mirrors accounting gimmicks, EID’s runaway double digit rate hikes will continue.