Friday, 29 June 2012 01:17

AWA discuss its modest budget reserve as the new fiscal year nears

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Amador County – Amador Water Agency board of directors on Thursday discussed budget adjustments and a small reserve of $46,000, heading into the new fiscal year.

Director Rich Farrington said the budget identifies excess funds going into the reserve account, based on 10 months of actual numbers that support it, while critics said the agency was improperly using internal funds.

Director Paul Molinelli Senior asked what are the balances, and if that is hard to answer. AWA General Manager Gene Mancebo said the Controller can pull up numbers today and there are journal entries to be made, which would show internal loans and a balance.

Controller Marvin Davis said “there is a lot of stuff going places to give you these amounts.” Molinelli asked Davis if after reading a letter criticizing AWA practices that Davis was comfortable that the funds are there. Davis said after finishing analyses, he has a draft internal funding report and they have done a lot of work to separate the accounts. He said they are coming up with a positive balance using transfers back to operating cash.

Molinelli said there may have been a history of lack of communication at the agency, but “I don’t thing there is any subversion here,” they just need to go through 20 years or more of miscommunication.

In discussion, Farrington asked why PG&E rates differed in the budget. Central Amador Water Project pumps ranked highest. Mancebo said it varied between a 2.6 and 3.4% increase, based on usage, making it different in different systems.

Molinelli asked about $20,000 in training conferences, saying “that’s an awful lot to me.” Secretary Cris Thompson said the conference includes employee certifications. Molinelli asked about $188,000 transferred into non-operating expenses. Davis said it showed internal loans out of participation fees that cannot be used without an internal loan. He said: “From a ratepayer standpoint it is new money because you are going to use it to offset their rates.”

Molinelli asked if the participation fees were likely to occur. Mancebo said in September Ione developers have to make another payment. Budget participation fees dropped from $576,000 to $359,000 in the coming year. Consultant forecasts dropped from $602,000 to $233,000 because a lot of projects are done.

Molinelli asked why so much was budgeted on legal fees, which grew from $88,000 to $120,000. Mancebo said current litigation caused it, along with having to have the attorney attend some meetings. He said “if we do not need it we won’t use it.” Kenneth Perano and Ken Berry are currently suing the AWA over use of restricted funds, and the reporting thereof.

Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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