Mike Workman believes the Utilities Department he heads will be able to weather the slowdown in construction and Lyon County's budget problems.
"By being able to close the South plant, to basically mothball one of our wastewater treatment plants, we defer a huge amount of operating expenses," Workman said.
He said that closing the older, less efficient plant and relying on the more-efficient Rolling A Wastewater Treatment plant will save electricity and chemical costs.
Workman said the South plant can remain closed for four to six years or longer if necessary.
Workman added that his department was also putting off filling four approved positions in an attempt to save money.
In 2005 Lyon County took out $30 million in bond issues to pay for utilities infrastructure.
Comptroller Josh Foli said the budget problems the county is experiencing will not affect the bond issues, and even the building slowdown shouldn't have an impact unless it continues long term.
"The two are separate issues, because the utilities are self-funded," he said. "We have a two-year debt service payment reserve, so that although we are not getting as much revenue as we'd like, we still have money set aside, so we won't have a cash-flow problem."
Workman said that since water and sewer infrastructure is funded through connection fees, the building slowdown has had an effect, but it is manageable.
"You just hunker down into a much more conservative operation," he said. "Building hasn't stopped; we still continue to take in a number of will-serve connections, just a smaller number."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.