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Pepper’s Ferry budget decreases

Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority is proposing a slight decrease in its 2009-10 Fiscal Year budget, thus resulting in reduced costs to its member jurisdictions.
Executive Director Clarke Wallcraft said the $4.9 million budget represents a $19,477 (.39 percent) decrease over the current budget, but that the decrease is so minor he considers it a “level-funded budget.”
He said his goal was to develop a budget that would not impact the budgets of member jurisdictions.
The proposed budget also includes $264,050 in contingency funds to offset any revenue losses due to reduced flows from drought conditions.
He said the Authority continues to have a $101,000 revenue shortfall for this fiscal year due to drought, so it is important to budget sufficient contingency in the event drought conditions continue.
“I hope we can make up for (the shortfall) in the spring when we have more rain,” he told Pepper’s Ferry board members. He noted that last month was the wettest January on record since 1999 at the treatment plant, so that is, “hopefully a good sign we’ll be seeing more rain.”
Wallcraft presented the board with a breakdown of costs per jurisdiction. The breakdown showed a 2.71 percent increase in costs in the Town of Pulaski and a 2.51 percent increase for the Town of Dublin. However, he pointed out those figures were skewed as the result of sulfate surcharges added to those jurisdictions under a recently approved surcharge program for sulfate discharges.
Under that program, industries can increase their sulfate discharges by paying a surcharge to the Authority. The surcharge is billed to the Authority member, who is then reimbursed by the prospective industries.
When those reimbursable surcharges are removed from the total cost to each jurisdiction, Wallcraft said the Town of Pulaski will realize about $46,000 in reduced costs during the upcoming fiscal year and Dublin will see a $1,761 decrease.
Authority members are billed based on the amount of flow they discharge into the plant.
Total cost to each member under the proposed budget will be:
• Town of Pulaski: $1.958,461;
• Radford City: $1,688,134;
• Montgomery County Public Service Authority (PSA): $199,270;
• Pulaski County PSA: $406,810;
• Pulaski County Sewage Authority (Fairlawn area): $205,324;
• Town of Dublin: $334,305; and
• Other: $124,215. Wallcraft explained that “other” includes miscellaneous forms of revenue from other sources such as septage fees and grants.
The proposed budget includes a total increase of $23,862 in wages and benefits for the upcoming year. That figure includes a 2 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in wages; a 50 percent reduction in available merit increases; and upward adjustments for two employee grades (Operator Trainee and Operator III) that were underpaid in comparison with surrounding jurisdictions.
With regards to the COLA increases, Wallcraft said the Authority’s wage increases “typically” have been running almost four percent behind the Consumer Price Index.
He said the reason behind adjusting the two employee grades is to make the Authority more “competitive” in the market for these positions. In the past, the Authority has often “spent a lot of money” training and licensing employees for these positions, only to have to move on to higher-paying jobs in other areas.
The budget also includes an estimated 15 percent increase in health insurance and $27,966 to cover payouts associated with employee retirements (untaken vacation, etc.)
The 2009-10 budget also contemplates 24 approved positions as opposed to 26, Wallcraft said.
Other budget highlights include:
• A $33,375 increase in electricity costs;
• A $6,071 decrease in repair, maintenance and lab costs;
• A $6,000 decrease in vehicle gas costs due to the purchase of some electric vehicles and decreases in gas prices; and
• A reduction in total debt service from about $1.6 million to $1.46 million as the result of retirement of some 2003 bonds in March;
Under the proposed budget, Wallcraft said the average monthly cost per 5,000 gallons of discharge (the average residential use) would be $17.66.
Radford City Representative Robert Asbury said that is comparable to charges in other parts of the state.
Wallcraft said one cost-saving measure the Authority is going to impose is electronically transmitting meeting packets to board members and the media through e-mail. In so doing, he estimated the organization could save around $1,200 per year in mailing costs alone. That does not include the savings that will be realized in terms of paper and copying costs.
If anyone does not have e-mail service, the packet will continue to be mailed.

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Pepper’s Ferry budget decreases

Pepper’s Ferry Regional Wastewater Treatment Authority is proposing a slight decrease in its 2009-10 Fiscal Year budget, thus resulting in reduced costs to its member jurisdictions.
Executive Director Clarke Wallcraft said the $4.9 million budget represents a $19,477 (.39 percent) decrease over the current budget, but that the decrease is so minor he considers it a “level-funded budget.”
He said his goal was to develop a budget that would not impact the budgets of member jurisdictions.
The proposed budget also includes $264,050 in contingency funds to offset any revenue losses due to reduced flows from drought conditions.
He said the Authority continues to have a $101,000 revenue shortfall for this fiscal year due to drought, so it is important to budget sufficient contingency in the event drought conditions continue.
“I hope we can make up for (the shortfall) in the spring when we have more rain,” he told Pepper’s Ferry board members. He noted that last month was the wettest January on record since 1999 at the treatment plant, so that is, “hopefully a good sign we’ll be seeing more rain.”
Wallcraft presented the board with a breakdown of costs per jurisdiction. The breakdown showed a 2.71 percent increase in costs in the Town of Pulaski and a 2.51 percent increase for the Town of Dublin. However, he pointed out those figures were skewed as the result of sulfate surcharges added to those jurisdictions under a recently approved surcharge program for sulfate discharges.
Under that program, industries can increase their sulfate discharges by paying a surcharge to the Authority. The surcharge is billed to the Authority member, who is then reimbursed by the prospective industries.
When those reimbursable surcharges are removed from the total cost to each jurisdiction, Wallcraft said the Town of Pulaski will realize about $46,000 in reduced costs during the upcoming fiscal year and Dublin will see a $1,761 decrease.
Authority members are billed based on the amount of flow they discharge into the plant.
Total cost to each member under the proposed budget will be:
• Town of Pulaski: $1.958,461;
• Radford City: $1,688,134;
• Montgomery County Public Service Authority (PSA): $199,270;
• Pulaski County PSA: $406,810;
• Pulaski County Sewage Authority (Fairlawn area): $205,324;
• Town of Dublin: $334,305; and
• Other: $124,215. Wallcraft explained that “other” includes miscellaneous forms of revenue from other sources such as septage fees and grants.
The proposed budget includes a total increase of $23,862 in wages and benefits for the upcoming year. That figure includes a 2 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in wages; a 50 percent reduction in available merit increases; and upward adjustments for two employee grades (Operator Trainee and Operator III) that were underpaid in comparison with surrounding jurisdictions.
With regards to the COLA increases, Wallcraft said the Authority’s wage increases “typically” have been running almost four percent behind the Consumer Price Index.
He said the reason behind adjusting the two employee grades is to make the Authority more “competitive” in the market for these positions. In the past, the Authority has often “spent a lot of money” training and licensing employees for these positions, only to have to move on to higher-paying jobs in other areas.
The budget also includes an estimated 15 percent increase in health insurance and $27,966 to cover payouts associated with employee retirements (untaken vacation, etc.)
The 2009-10 budget also contemplates 24 approved positions as opposed to 26, Wallcraft said.
Other budget highlights include:
• A $33,375 increase in electricity costs;
• A $6,071 decrease in repair, maintenance and lab costs;
• A $6,000 decrease in vehicle gas costs due to the purchase of some electric vehicles and decreases in gas prices; and
• A reduction in total debt service from about $1.6 million to $1.46 million as the result of retirement of some 2003 bonds in March;
Under the proposed budget, Wallcraft said the average monthly cost per 5,000 gallons of discharge (the average residential use) would be $17.66.
Radford City Representative Robert Asbury said that is comparable to charges in other parts of the state.
Wallcraft said one cost-saving measure the Authority is going to impose is electronically transmitting meeting packets to board members and the media through e-mail. In so doing, he estimated the organization could save around $1,200 per year in mailing costs alone. That does not include the savings that will be realized in terms of paper and copying costs.
If anyone does not have e-mail service, the packet will continue to be mailed.

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