Financial issues — past and future — dominated the discussion during last week’s Pine Cove Water District board meeting.

General Manager Jerry Holldber reported on the costs of the recently completed South Central Pipeline Project, which is in the Nestwa Trail neighborhood. Work took 40 days from late August until early November.

District staff replaced nearly 1,200 feet of old pipe, with a new 8-inch main line and 180 feet of 6-inch main line. The total cost of $116,500 resulted in a per foot cost of slightly more than $98, Holldber told the board.

The total cost included labor, materials, use of equipment and permits and mapping, and three hydrants, which cost about $9,000. Community Service Area 38 reimbursed PCWD for the costs.

Construction labor costs were about $36,000 and were for district personnel only. Holldber used only non-district personnel for the mapping and survey work. The two employees, whom he complimented, were Jeremy Potter, field foreman, and Matt Wheeler.

“It was a little more than I thought, but overall very reasonable,” Holldber said. “You can’t hire a contractor for that much.”

The new pipelines will improve water flow in the event of fire, he explained. “Since much of the district is surrounded by national forest, we don’t have to worry about significant growth.”

The next project will be pipeline in the Laurel Trail and Pine Ridge areas, according to Holldber.

The current budget has funds for a new tractor. Holldber told the board he found one for $20,000 less than the initial estimate.

Regarding future finances, Holldber told the board he plans to have John Egan, PCWD’s engineer, at the January meeting to discuss the costs of water production and system maintenance. These data will be used to develop future rates.

“He is doing several things — collecting data, such as pipeline repairs and replacement and energy costs, which will help develop delivery charges,” he said. “We are trying to create formulas to show how costs are derived, and provide this for the customers and public. This will be the methodology to support whatever we charge.”

Egan will discuss delivery charges and monthly charges during his presentation.

“We’ll want both short-term and long-term plans from him,” recommended President Robert Hewitt.

In water news, Holldber reported that October’s water production was 3 million gallons, which was 350,000 gallons more than last year, and about 200,000 gallons greater than September’s production.

For 2017, production since January has been 31.8 million gallons compared to 27.3 million in the same period of 2016. This has been the result of the water theft (reported in earlier Town Crier issues) during the spring and summer. The last time the PCWD production was at this level was in 2007 and 2008.

“Over the past 10 years, October’s production has ranged from 2.6- to 3.2-million gallons,” he said. “Everything indicates it is normal.”

The static well maintained its ground level and several operational well levels increased.

“There’s still a good amount of water still moving through the ground,” Holldber said. “Enough that the well levels are not dropping.”