The Pine Cove Water District budget for fiscal year 2014-15, which starts July 1, will be $800,000, which is $25,000 or 3 percent lower than the current-year budget.

And the budget the directors adopted last week was about $11,000 lower than the preliminary budget presented at the May meeting.

An uncertainty of whether Sprint would extend its lease of a cell tower at the PCWD’s Point of Rocks facility necessitated the slight reduction, according to General Manager Jerry Holldber.

Complementing the possibility of less revenue, Holldber was able to lower the capital improvements program. Specifically, funding for main-line replacement was reduced from $40,000 to $29,000.

“We’ve bought most of the supplies this year,” he said. “Asphalt is the principal cost for next year.” Pipeline replacement work has already begun in the Franklin Drive area, Holldber added.

Total 2014-15 expenses of $800,000 includes $470,000 for district staffing, both full- and part-time, and $27,540 for new equipment, which will be paid in three years.

Reserves will provide about $25,000 to balance the total budget.

The directors unanimously approved the budget.

Earlier in the meeting, the board held a public hearing on stand-by fees of $30 per acre for 2014-15. The initial resolution authorizing the imposition of these charges was passed in April.

A customer, William Aussieker, following in his father’s footsteps, attended the hearing and objected to the stand-by fees. He owns several multi-acre parcels. Consequently, he pays more than $200 annually for stand-by fees. The large, fixed cost creates an incentive to over-use water, he argued.

Secondly, some of his land is too steep to develop. The county has not approved a septic system because of the property’s terrain. Finally, he objected to using the funds. He feels that commingling them with all revenue allows the district to use them for operational costs rather than actually setting the fees aside for capital costs of installing pipe to the undeveloped lots.

In water business, Holldber reported the district’s May production at 2.7 million gallons, about 120,000 gallons more than in April and only 5,000 gallons more than May 2013. For the first five months of 2014, total production of 11.2 million gallons was about 335,000 gallons less than a year ago.

The water level of the district’s monitoring well “held steady in May,” Holldber said.

PCWD also resumed usage of the Dutch Flats treatment plant last month, according to Holldber. It is run six hours daily and removes iron and manganese from the water.

He also announced that in preparing for the Southern California Edison planned power outage for early Friday morning, June 13, the wells and pumps were to be shut down Thursday. Then Friday, they would all be restarted.

“Because of past problems with start-up and short circuits, we’ll take these precautions,” he said. “We can’t afford to replace motors.”