Because of aging infrastructure, about 15,000 feet of the same sewer lines maintained by the Cortez Sanitation District must be cleaned every month.
Total CSD enterprise fund operating expenditures in 2015 are proposed at $1,567,560, down slightly over the current year’s budget of $1,580,483. Of the 15,000 feet of sewer lines that must be cleaned monthly, CSD officials estimate the proposed 2015 budget would cover the cost to replace about 1,200 feet of those lines.
“We plan to have one public hearing on the 2015 budget in December,” said district manager Tim Krebs.
Next year’s budget must be adopted by Dec. 15.
For the year, the district has spent more than $225,000, 67 percent, of its total $335,000 sewer line maintenance budget. Nearly two-thirds of the 2014 budget has covered employee wages, benefits, taxes and retirement.
For 2015, the district has proposed more than a 10 percent increase to sewer line maintenance appropriations for a total of $373,480. Line-item professional repairs are forecast to decrease by $30,000, and line-item general repairs are projected to increase by $45,000.
When presented with the draft budget, John Stramel was the only board member to raise a question on Monday, Oct. 13. He asked about the impact of temporary rate adjustments approved by the board in August after dozens of local businesses saw sewer rates spike 100 percent or more.
“I hate to be using savings for annual budget items,” said Stramel.
Krebs said the district would lose about $82,000 in revenues next year because of the temporary rate adjustments. He said reserves would offset the difference.
“We will be fine,” Krebs assured Stramel.
Total repair and replacement expenditures for 2015 are proposed at $2,153,246, which will be supplemented by unrestricted surplus funds. The largest expenditure, slightly more than $2 million, will be earmarked for sewer line construction.
Next year’s projected revenues in the repair and replacement budget total $1,184,790, a majority of which includes a new DOLA grant. Proposed total enterprise fund operating revenues for 2015 are $2,021,588. All the district’s operating revenue is derived from service and tap fees charged to customers.
To help increase 2014 revenues, board members voted unanimously to track down delinquent customers by having liens placed against them. Nearly 70 CSD customers have delinquent accounts that are six months or more past due.
Delinquent accounts total nearly $30,000. The largest amount owed by a single delinquent customer is more than $2,300.
In February, the CSD paid $1,500 to launch its first website. As of press time Thursday, a copy of the 2015 draft budget was not posted on cortezsanitation.com.
A copy of the proposed budget is attached to this story at cortezjournal.com