Carson City’s utility funds are substantially meeting their financial goals, according to the Utility Finance Oversight Committee.
The committee on Tuesday voted to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve tentative fiscal year 2020 budgets for the three utility funds — water, stormwater and wastewater.
The wastewater with a projected $14.9 million in operating revenue is expected to meet all its financial goals, including exceeding the debt to equity goal with a 45-to-55 ratio. The department is proposing spending $3.4 million on capital expenditures, half of which for sewer line and manhole replacement and rehab.
The water and stormwater funds also met their financial goals except for the debt to equity ratio goal, which is 50-to-50 for all the funds.
The water fund, with projected $16.3 million in operating revenue, has a ratio of 53-to-47 while the $1.8 million stormwater fund has a ratio of 56-to-44, both due to recent bond issuances.
“This encapsulates the fact that stormwater is underfunded and we have some real needs,” said committee member Bruce Scott. “Keeping it in the public eye is important.”
Randy Bowling, vice chair, added the ratio is improving, from 58-to-42 last year and 62-to-38 the year before that.
The water fund is planning $3.2 million in capital spending, about half of that on water line replacement and rehab. The stormwater funds capital plan is $550,000 on fleet replacement and system maintenance.
The committee also approved Friends in Service Helping as the administrator of the new Utility Ratepayer Assistance Program for a fee of 5 percent of the donations.
The program will assist qualified low-come ratepayers on a first-come, first-serve basis. A few years ago, the state ended a similar program for low-income seniors and the city had kept funding the $60,000 in discounts through the water fund. This replaces it and is going to be funded through donations from other ratepayers.
The city expects it to take a few years for the program to get off the ground, and former UFOC member Ande Engleman donated $1,000 to kickstart it.
At its next meeting on May 28, the UFOC will get a status report on the rate study the Public Works department is doing with consultant Farr West Engineering.
The study is looking at water and sewer rates, which were raised for five years starting in 2013, to see if projected revenue was met. The stormwater rates, which were raised across the board in 2018, will get a closer look in terms of the way they’re structured.