Water and sewer budgets up, but down overall
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | November 07,2013
Mayor Christopher Louras said the water and sewer budgets do not reveal all that is behind the numbers.
Both funds show significant increases in certain line items that are largely offset by decreases in transfers out.
The overall water budget is down $410,430, to $3.17 million for FY15 compared to $3.58 million for the current fiscal year, FY14. But the treatment cost jumped by $139,188.
This is in part because portions of the budgets that have traditionally been listed in the general fund, like liability insurance and pension contributions, have been moved into the water and sewer funds proper, for “transparency and simplicity.”
“We broke that out,” Louras said. “(City Treasurer Wendy Wilton) was able to do an analysis through our insurance policy and figure out how much of the policy could be ascribed to water, sewer and the general fund.”
Liability insurance costs of $155,780 — offset by cuts elsewhere — account for the entire increase in water treatment, which went from $616,434 to $755,622.
Despite an addition of $21,827, water distribution actually went down, from $592,117 to $587,339. The fund saw cuts to overtime and other expenses, and last year’s budget included a $36,500 vehicle purchase.
Salaries, pension and other personnel costs drove the water meter fund from $339,542 to $375,898.
Debt service for the water department dropped substantially, from $1,024,326 to $795,280.
Wastewater treatment climbed from $2.3 million to almost $2.7 million, with $212,000 in liability insurance accounting for two-thirds of the jump. Wastewater collection rose from $593,740 to $646,705 largely due to personnel costs and a $35,000 truck.
Transfers out in the sewer fund dropped from $1.1 million to roughly $838,000.
The overall sewer budget is up $73,032, to $4.72 million from $4.65 million for the current year.
Like with the general fund budget, Louras said that any serious cuts to the water and sewer funds would require cuts to personnel.
The Board of Aldermen reviews and approves the water and sewer budgets prior to setting the water and sewer rates. The board may remove expenditures but may not add any.