PUD BOC passes 2021 Budget

Jefferson County PUD Commissioners unanimously approved General Manager Kevin Street and Finance Director Mike Bailey’s proposed 2021 Budget at the annual Budget Hearing and Regular Meeting on October 5th, 2020.

The 2021 budget is unique, in part because 2020 has been anything but a normal year. The drafting of the budget included on the following pages took place during a year where the PUD closed its operation center and moved all of its staff to temporary locations. And this was before the global pandemic hit, causing staff to relocate yet again, and multiple times, changing the entire way the PUD does business. The effect the pandemic has had on our customers is greater still. Even as we submit this budget to our customer-owners for comment and to the board for approval, we do not know what 2021 will bring, nor when the effects of the pandemic will abate, much less be resolved.

What we do know is there is much to consider in adopting the 2021 budget, and much that may change despite our diligence. Concurrent with the drafting of this budget, the PUD has been working with FCS Group on a thorough Cost of Service study. The outcome of the study may require us to revise this budget in the new year. So will the availability of (or lack thereof of) state and federal funding. Staff therefore proposes a detailed Budget Review meeting be conducted with the board every other month in 2021 to account for the variability of potential revenue and/or expenses.

The good news is that the 2021 operations budget as presented is $1.2M to the positive in net margins. We are also able to support increases to broadband, low income, tree trimming, and staffing, but will have to reduce some capital spending on projects and supplies. The bad news is unrestricted cash reserves will be reduced by $2.5 million. And our water division is projected to begin losing money in 2021 and continue losing money going forward. There is much to discuss and much that will be out of our ability to control. The 2021 budget as presented is our best faith effort at navigating the next year.



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