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PAWSD directors adopt 2010 budget

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) Board of Directors met Tuesday night and, among other things, adopted its amended 2009 and final 2010 budgets.

According to PAWSD Assistant Finance Director Shellie Tressler, unanticipated additional expenditures in the district’s Debt Service, Water Enterprise and Wastewater Enterprise funds facilitated the need for an amended 2009 budget.

While timing in respect to the payoff of an $8.6 million Wells Fargo Brokerage Services “bridge loan” and required bond payments due by Dec. 1 predicated the changes, the necessary revenue was apparently available in combined district reserve and lease/loan funds.

At Tuesday’s meeting, part of a resolution to amend the 2009 budget stated, “ ... the unanticipated additional expenditures are contingencies which could not have been reasonably foreseen at the time of adoption of the budget.”

As a result, the revised 2009 district funds and their net adjustments from the original appropriations are as follows:

• General Fund — $1,096,924, down $4,160.

• Special Revenue Fund — $550,000, down $420,151.

• Capital Projects Fund — $579,815, down $439,636.

• Debt Service Fund — $1,269,876, up $7,379.

• Water Enterprise Fund — $13,431,071, up $719,121.

• Wastewater Enterprise Fund — $2,481,345, up $156,160.

In an introduction to the district’s 2010 budget, Tressler wrote, “This Budget was based on the modified accrual basis of accounting and represents a balanced Budget where expenditures do not exceed the resources available for each fund.”

The introduction continued, saying, “The Budget presented represents the financial goals and policies of the Board of Directors for the upcoming calendar year. The Budget maintains current service levels, achieves a ratio of revenues to expenditures deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors and provides for funding of all required debt service payments on bonds that have been issued. The 2010 Budget does not project an increase in Service Charges in the Enterprise Funds. The District’s policy that Enterprise revenues should fully fund the needs of providing service and contribute to on-going capital projects continues to be reflected in the 2010 Budget.

“Another significant District policy upheld by the Budget is that growth pay its own way. This policy is supported by the allocation of capital project funding between revenues generated through Service Charges to existing customers and Capital Investment Fees and Water Resource Fees assessed to new customers.”

Due to the complexity of its infrastructure, related services and proposed capital projects, fully comprehending the 2010 PAWSD budget is challenging, to say the least. Nevertheless, following is a summary of its various “funds”:

• General Fund — beginning balance of $976,016, total revenue of $1,474,047, total expenditures of $1,114,255, with an ending balance of $1,335,808.

• Special Revenue Fund — beginning balance of $287,202, total revenue of $3,000, transfer to capital projects of $290,202, with an ending balance of $0.

• Capital Projects Fund — beginning balance of $0, total transfers from General and Special Revenue funds of $360,146, total expenditures of $360,147, with an ending balance of $0.

• Debt Service Fund — beginning balance of $13,524, total revenue of $1,288,913, total debt service payments and transfers to other funds of $1,262,666, with an ending balance of $39,771.

• Water Enterprise Fund — beginning balance of $8,492,417, total revenue of $12,065,906, total expenditures of $11,925,020, with an ending balance of $8,633,303.

• Wastewater Enterprise Fund — beginning balance of $4,558,479, total revenue of $7,125,905, total expenditures of $7,118,190, with an ending balance of $4,566,194.

While some may wonder why PAWSD must maintain such high balances in its water and wastewater funds, a theoretical predicament partially explains. If, for instance, a landslide or other natural disaster wipes out a significant stretch of water or sewer line, relative repairs would have to be immediate and could cost millions.

Additionally, once loan expenditures and reimbursements are taken into account for each fund, the unrestricted reserves should cover nine months to a year of operating expenses and debt service.

Though complex in detail and form, the PAWSD 2010 budget basically foresees district revenues similar to 2009, while promising little or no economic recovery. It also holds consumer water and wastewater service rates to 2009 levels.

For more detailed information on the PAWSD 2010 budget, visit the district Web site at pawsd.org, or call PAWSD Assistant Finance Director Shellie Tressler at 731-2691.

chuck@pagosasun.com