Mike Esnard, new president of Pine Cove Water District. Photo by J.P. Crumrine
The Pine Cove Water District Board of Directors unanimously adopted its 2013-14 budget at last Wednesday’s meeting with an 8.5 percent increase. The total budget is $825,000, up from the current year’s budget of $760,000.

General Manger Jerry Holldber told the board he was projecting income would remain stable at $760,000; consequently, the $65,000 increase would be funded from carryover funds and $25,000 from restricted reserves. Total reserves, including restricted, exceed $200,000.

Riverside County’s estimate of improving property sales and accompanying property tax growth in 2013-14 may mitigate the level of reserves needed.

The largest budget increase is $33,000, the first of three annual payments, to fund the district’s “Other Post-employment Benefits” (such as health care). The proposal to fund the plan was approved at the May meeting.

This month the board approved the CAL PERS (retirement plan) agreement and incorporated the initial payment in its budget for fiscal year 2013-14.

Other increases include initial payments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan for equipment. Having bought nearly 2 miles of pipeline, Holldber will begin replacing old mainline pipes next year. This will be the focus of the infrastructure and construction budget. Funding for drilling new wells and well upgrades was reduced since mainline replacement funding grew 80 percent.

Salaries and benefits increase about $22,000 for a 3.5 percent salary increase and the addition of two part-time employees.

In other board business, Mike Esnard, former board vice-president, chaired his first meeting as new president, following the death of President Tom McCullough. At the meeting, the board, with Director Robert Hewitt absent, elected Director Lou Padula vice-president and Hewitt as the new secretary-treasurer, succeeding Padula.

To fill McCullough’s vacancy, the board announced that residents interested in serving on the board may submit an application or resume to the district office by July 3. An appointment will be made at the July 10 meeting.

In water business, Holldber reported May consumption was 2.7 million gallons, about 5 percent less than May 2012. For the first five months of 2013, consumption is about 3.8 percent ahead of last year’s usage.

Groundwater level of the district’s static well remained unchanged from May, but groundwater levels of PCWD’s other wells varied from up 5 feet to down 5 feet, according to Holldber.

He also said the district’s Dutch Flats treatment facility, which provides aeration, and iron and manganese removal, was treating about 1 million gallons monthly. “It’s working like a textbook; everything we expected, it’s doing,” he told the board.