PUD commissioners Monday approved next year’s budget. The combined spending plan of $213 million is about 3 percent less than 2012.
Mark O’Bryan, strategic financial planning director, said the 2013 spending plan meets the targets of keeping growth in operating expenses under 4 percent (budgeted at 3.5 percent) and spending on capital projects under $48 million (budgeted at about $42 million).
The increased positive results will be used to meet priorities set by PUD customers to continue to pay down debt, increase reserves, keep any future changes in electric rates moderate and predictable and maintain reliable utility service.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
- Heard plans to seek outside expertise to evaluate options for future operation of PUD-owned parks with campgrounds including the impacts of projected state budget shortfalls. Keith Truscott, Natural Resources director, said the analysis will cover the state-operated parks – Confluence, Lincoln Rock and Daroga – plus Entiat, Beebe Bridge and Orondo River parks. A request for proposals to conduct the analysis and provide alternatives will be issued this week. Truscott said the work is an important step in understanding the park services customers expect and determining how to pay for them. Looking deeper into all services offered by the PUD is among the next steps being taken to meet the objectives of the District’s Strategic Plan.
- Approved agreements with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife for fish hatchery operations and for monitoring and evaluation of hatchery programs that will bring savings over the current contracts. Alene Underwood, hatchery program manager, said 2013 hatchery operation costs will be about 11 percent lower than this year. In addition, an agreement to share costs with Grant PUD will further reduce operations and monitoring and evaluation costs by about $700,000 next year, Underwood said.