PUD Passes Budget and State Audits in November

In their last two November meetings, the Jefferson County PUD Board of Commissioners approved a $39.7 million operating budget for 2019 and received notice of a clean audit report for 2017.

Assistant Audit Manager for the State of Washington Amy Strzalka presented her preliminary report to the board and PUD staff at a November 26th special meeting. The PUD received clean audit findings for both its 2017 accountability and financial statement reports.

According to the preliminary report “District operations complied with applicable state laws, regulations, and its own policies, and provided adequate controls over the safeguarding of public resources.” A final report will be available on the auditor’s website in the coming weeks.

Strzalka described the 2017 audit as “the easiest one yet.” She estimated the PUD would save over $10,000 on the cost of its audit due to the improved financial tracking and administrative assistance the district provided.

“The fact that the district had made such big improvements in the controls and the financial statement preparation process saved a ton of time, and saved a lot of money this year,” said Strzalka. The commissioners thanked Strzalka for her work and complemented staff on their performance before adjourning the meeting.

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, November 20th, General Manager Larry Dunbar gave the final presentation of the proposed 2019 budget, highlighting changes made at the request of commissioners in previous meetings. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the budget.

Dunbar began the presentation by going over what he called the budget principles, which included expanded planning and training, and heightened focus on service, safety and reliability. The budget was also designed to be revenue positive, maintaining key final ratios without raising core service rates.

The final budget projected $39.7 million in operating revenue, and $37.7 million in expenses. Residential electricity sales are the PUD’s single largest source of revenue, while the purchase of electricity from the Bonneville power administration is the PUD’s largest operating expense, accounting for 46% of the expense budget. Taxes, loans and finances make up 30 % of expenses. Operations, maintenance and administration account for 24%.

The PUD estimated a total of $19 million in cash reserves available at the start of 2019, of which $12 million is a 90-day operating reserve. During 2019 $7 million will go to capital improvements, with $3.2 million for the PUD’s facility expansion and remodel, $3.2 million for various electrical plant equipment and vehicle purchases, $500,000 for water projects, including $310,000 for an initial phase of a new water reservoir in Quilcene. The PUD’s 2019 ending cash balance is projected at $16.8 million.