The Idyllwild Water District directors approved a $1.9 million budget (water and sewer programs), which includes a six percent water rate increase.

Even with the rate increase, the district will use nearly $115,000 of its reserves to balance the budget. Without the rate increase, the overall loss would have approached $190,000. The water and sewer revenues do not equal the district’s operating expenses. Through April of this year, the district’s operating losses (water and sewer) total about $245,000. With the addition of the nonoperating revenue, principally the property taxes, the district’s revenues exceed costs by about $85,000.

In 2012-13, expanded capital improvement programs exacerbated the total loss. The rate increase does not eliminate it.

The district passed an annual six percent rate increase in June 2010 through 2014. Last year, the board did not implement the increase.

General Manager Terry Lyons stressed the district has been reducing costs throughout the past year. More than $12,000 has been saved through changes to retiree’s medical costs. No cost of living increases have been approved and the low-flow rebate program will be re-evaluated this summer.

Overall, district salaries for 2012-13 will decrease $40,000, although benefits remain about level. Capital expenditures will total about $580,000, a $275,000 increase above the 2011-12 level.

Nearly half of capital spending is targeted for a replacement of the Golden Rod storage tank. The capacity of the new tank, when finished, will be 200,000 gallons, doubling the current storage capacity.

If the state approves the recycled water facility construction funding, Idyllwild may begin construction of the $750,000 facility during this fiscal year.

During the meeting, the board also approved $30 stand-by fees for the water and sewer district. Lyons also introduced Hosny Shouman as the new chief finance officer.

The board also heard an appeal from resident Cynthia Thompson. She is a renter and her landlord instructed the district to turn off the water to her house this winter. The board listened to her, treating the situation as an emergency, but ultimately could not take any action at this point.

Water levels are holding according to Lyons report. “The interesting item is the flow of the creeks. And Foster Lake is still full,” he added.