RANCHO SANTA FE — The Santa Fe Irrigation District’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the district’s Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget following a public hearing at the regular board meeting June 20.“Despite three years of reduced water sales, and a sluggish economy, the district’s financial condition remains strong,” said General Manager Michael Bardin. “The budget approved by the board of directors provides the financial resources necessary to support the core services of the district and our commitment to the priority replacement of aging infrastructure. At the same time, the district continues to manage its costs to avoid water rate increases.”
The budget does not include a rate increase for district customers even though the district will have a 2.2 percent wholesale water rate increase from the San Diego County Water Authority in January 2014. Due to a dry year in 2013, the availability of local water supplies from Lake Hodges is expected to be limited in the coming year. The district has forecast a 17 percent increase in the cost of imported water purchases since the district will have less local water. The district is planning to utilize funds from its Rate Stabilization Reserve in Fiscal Year 2014 to offset higher costs for imported water supplies. The use of the Rate Stabilization Reserve funds in this manner is anticipated and authorized by district policy to avoid rate increases in years with reduced local water availability.
For the upcoming fiscal year, total expenditures are projected to be $33 million. This total includes $12.2 million for water purchases and treatment, $7.9 million for operating departments, $10.2 million for capital projects and depreciation, $1.3 million for debt service payments, and a $1.5 million contribution to the Capital Improvement Reserve. Other than water purchase costs and funding for capital improvement projects, the district’s operating budget remains flat, reflecting continued budget reductions from prior fiscal years.
“In order to avoid customer water rate increases,” said Bardin “the district will continue our ongoing efforts to contain operating costs.”
For more information on the Fiscal Year 2014 District Budget or to obtain a copy of the budget document, please visit sfidwater.org. The Santa Fe Irrigation District provides water and related services to residential, commercial and agricultural customers in the communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach and Fairbanks Ranch.