Chelan County PUD
With revenue forecasts dropping still further, Chelan County PUD supervisors and managers went back to their 2009 budgets last week and came up with about $7.3 million worth of utility work that will be delayed or canceled this year.
The amount brings total reductions in the 2009 budget since contingency steps were first announced to just over $26 million. Chief Finance Officer/Chief Risk Officer John Janney presented the update to the Board of Commissioners Monday afternoon along with Joe Jarvis, executive manager of Operations.
The board announced a proposed date for another public meeting to report to the community at 5:30 p.m. on March 16, with a location to be determined. General Manager Rich Riazzi will explain the latest financial outlook and answer questions from customer-owners. These evening meetings are intended to keep the community informed about the PUD’s changing financial outlook and the possibility of an electric bill surcharge. No decision on a surcharge has been made.
Among the cutbacks announced by Janney Monday are less tree-trimming this year, reduced educational programs at Rocky Reach Dam Visitor Center, scaled back pole-testing, bare-bones trail maintenance in parks, reduced overtime, return of underused vehicles to the central fleet so they can be used elsewhere and limiting office moves and/or reconfigurations. Vital steps to meet requirements for protecting critical infrastructure will still be taken, as will scheduled overhaul of vital equipment and much of the work to meet relicensing requirements.
Any further cuts this year would likely affect reliability of PUD systems, said Jarvis. Janney explained that General Manager Rich Riazzi called all PUD supervisors and managers together the afternoon of Feb. 20 to ask them to look closely at their budgets for more cuts, and that they responded with $7 million in suggestions that could be tolerated this year but probably not over the long term. Employees continue to make further suggestions that will be looked at by managers.
After hearing the report from Janney and Jarvis, board members Norm Gutzwiler and Ann Congdon suggested commissioners take a look at their own budget to see if cuts can be made. The board has an all-day retreat scheduled March 13 at the North Central Regional Library Headquarters to discuss strategic planning, and the budget may be discussed then.
In other action, commissioners:
The next regular meeting of the PUD Commission is at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 9, in the boardroom at PUD Headquarters, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.
Most PUD commission meetings are recorded, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org.
For further information, contact: