Water board approves balanced budget

COAST CITIES — At its June 27 meeting, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s board of directors approved the Operating and Capital Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, which will begin July 1, 2012 and expire on June 30, 2013.The budget reflects OMWD’s funding required to prevent delays to critical projects or maintenance and ensures customers continue receiving excellent water treatment and delivery services.

External factors influencing the budget include double-digit increases in wholesale water costs, ongoing global economic challenges, and uncertainty regarding imported water supplies. The budget takes measures to offset these factors including the reprioritization of non-critical capital projects and implementation of preventative maintenance programs. In addition, OMWD has worked to reduce costs in other areas with particular emphasis on labor costs. These efforts have yielded a negotiation requiring all employees to contribute 100 percent of their share of retirement costs.

The cost of water purchased from regional wholesalers remains the largest share of OMWD’s operating and maintenance budget. Pending action by the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors this afternoon, the purchased water wholesale cost increase to OMWD is expected to increase 11.9 percent starting Jan. 1, 2013. As a result, key programs in the budget are devoted to reducing reliance on regional wholesalers for water supplies. Specific goals to increase long-term water supply reliability include completing feasibility studies for a brackish groundwater desalination facility, leading the North San Diego County Regional Recycled Water Project coalition to maximize recycled water use, and also offering conservation programs to continue to educate customers on water use efficiency.

Total expenditures are projected in the budget at $84.3 million, which is comprised of $36.7 million in operating expenditures, $7.0 million in debt service, $33.2 million in capital expenditures, and $7.4 million in Pay-As-You-Go transfer from rates and charges to capital improvement programs.

 

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