Utility moves forward with ‘19-‘20 $600,000 deficit budget

The Lassen Municipal Utility District is looking at a budget with around a $600,000 deficit, which the utility believes is managable with its reserved resources.

LMUD moved forward with its 2019-2020 budget at its June 25 meeting, where LMUD general manager Doug Smith presided over the subject.

“The budget was presented to the board at the budget workshop on June 5,” said Smith. “Very little has changed that what we have before you now.”

Earlier in the meeting, Smith also gave the utility’s financial report where the utility, with one month left in the fiscal year, reported a negative cash balance of $1.06 million.

The negative cash included half of the utility’s reimbursements from last summer’s Whaleback Fire.

LMUD board president Bud Bowden asked Smith more about the million-dollar negative cash balance. Smith responded, “Our expenses just keep going up,” and that, “There were several things that happened this year that were unexpected. A lot of it had to do with the PG&E lines going down … we received a portion of what it cost us to rebuild that line.”

Smith also told the board the utility did not receive any reimbursement from the use of the generator, which was expensive. Smith also pointed out that every time the area became “islanded” it increased the cost of service.

“The other thing we talked about before, is that our power supply from WAPA,” said Smith. “During the Carr Fire, … they had transmission lines go down and so they have a hard time getting their base resource around and they have to purchase more on the market, so those things drive our costs up a little bit.”

Also shared was the check register, where the Skedaddle substation had amassed a year-to-date total of $336,000 and a total cost of $1.4 million so far.