Budget balancing act at Georgetown Divide PUD

By From page A1 | June 04, 2012

The budget workshop for the Georgetown Divide PUD highlighted the choices that most public agencies are facing as they try to balance shrinking revenues against demand for services.

District staff presented a budget packet that projected out expenses and revenues for the next five years. The district expects to end this fiscal year with a surplus of $89,054 with most of the savings coming from staff reductions.

However next year, the district is expecting a deficit of $147,000 with smaller deficits expected for the next four years as a result of only small increases in revenue. In 2012-13, revenues are projected to be slightly over $4 million with expenses being $4.2 million.

“The district is facing fiscal challenges just like other agencies and businesses are,” said Mary Pat Frick, business finance manager. “We might have some surplus, but not enough to offset the deficit next year.”

Frick informed budget committee members Norm Krizl and Kathy Otermat that the surcharge for the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Treatment Plant was not included in the revenue projections for next year because revenues and expenses for the project are contingent on a construction schedule that hasn’t yet been established.

Also not included was at least $90,000 in additional revenue that Krizl said the district can expect to receive annually once the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has its license renewed. The revenue would come from a contract with SMUD for water conservation and to offset the impact of water projects on GDPUD. “We know it’s coming, we just don’t know when,” said Krizl.

Resident Ray Kringle asked if a rate increase was needed to cover the budget deficit, depreciation of plant facilities, and to fill now vacant positions.

“It’s something we’re going to have to deal with, with a deficit that will grow over time,” said Krizl.

Hank White, general manager of the district said that “there is a problem when realtors call us to do research but we don’t have anyone to do it but myself. We have a significant surplus at the end of this year but we cut two management positions and now have to deal with complaints from public about reduced services.”

Currently the agency employs the equivalent of 22 full-time people but is approved for 25 1/2 positions. The operations manager/planner, operations manager-water quality and half-time administrative assistant positions are all vacant.

Krizl asked what it would cost to hire someone to handle research and other tasks formerly done by those in the now vacant positions. White said it would cost $100,000 in salary and a $100,000 in benefits and hiring a consultant would probably be less expensive.

After a discussion, Krizl asked for some ballpark figures from staff for hiring more staff “to alleviate some of the pressures that exist right now.”

Staff were also asked to come to the next committee meeting with a revised budget for next year that included the surcharge revenue and interest expenses.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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