Pine Cove Water approves record budget

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Non-water revenue up

 

The directors of the Pine Cove Water District held a busy meeting Wednesday, June 14. Besides adopting a new budget, they addressed issues ranging from tenants at the Rocky Point radio site to work with Riverside County and monthly water loss.

The fiscal year 2017-18 budget, which begins July 1, was unanimously adopted. The budget total is $912,000, a $12,000 increase from the draft budget presented last month and $62,000 more than the current-year budget.

About half of the $62,000 revenue growth is an expected $32,000 increase in water-sales revenue.

The revenue received from the communication leases at Rocky Point is anticipated to grow $18,000 to an annual total of $190,000. So about 20 percent of total revenue comes from a non-water source.

Contributing to the growth from this source will be a new tenant. The Hemet Unified School District has approached PCWD requesting to locate a radio tower on the water-district premises. The board approved a five-year lease, which starts at $12,000 annually and increases 4 percent.

The other major increase is a projection for more new meter sales growing at $7,000 to $15,100 next year.

During the meeting, Becky Smith, office manager, said PCWD had sold five new meters in the past two months.

The new meter sales have continued to aid the growth of assets, General Manager Jerry Holldber told the board. At the end of May, total assets were nearly $350,000, and he anticipates the carryover from this fiscal year to 2017-18 will approach $60,000, the largest ever.

On the expenditure side, the Improvements account increases $58,000, to a total of $158,000. This includes a $46,000 increase for main-line replacement and $15,000 of new funding for storage-tank improvements and a water shed or backflow program.

Funding for loans and liabilities will decrease nearly a third to $41,000. This fiscal year saw the final $27,000 payment for the tractor purchased two years ago.

In addition to approving the budget, the board also approved its annual $30 standby fee applied to vacant lots in the district. There are no changes in the rates, which have been $30 per acre for many years, Holldber said.

One other budget-related issue was approving a memorandum of understanding with Riverside County’s Economic Development Agency. The agreement will reimburse PCWD for its costs to help construct shade cover for the jointly used fueling area behind Fire Station 23 and the district’s maintenance office.

PCWD continues to work with the Mile High Radio Club to relocate its equipment at the site. PCWD’s attorney drafted a new agreement that was shared with MHRC.

The club has made some suggested changes, which are being specifically identified. While the board was concerned about incurring more legal fees to review the changes if major, it gave Holldber authority with the committee to broker minor adjustments.

In water business, Holldber had some bad news for the board. May water consumption was 3.3-million gallons, nearly 400,000 gallons more than last month and an increase of nearly a million gallons from May 2016.

Since January, PCWD water consumption has totaled 13.2-million gallons. Since 2012, the average PCWD production for the five months from January through May has been 11.3 million. This year’s water production is 17 percent more than the five-year average.

“It’s up for reasons that are not good,” Holldber reported. “It’s very discouraging.” The water loss was 18 percent, a continuing increase since January. In December, unaccounted-for water loss was 5.7 percent of total production and 10 percent for all of 2016.

Two significant leaks were found on Sylvan Way and Norwood. He estimated that the first might have contributed more than half a million gallons to the loss.

Holldber described several actions he has taken to attempt to curb or identify the source of the leaks. These include replacement of old meters and plans to acquire new leak-detection equipment. Several vendors were to demonstrate their equipment to the district this week, he stated.

 

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