Village News Reporter
Four days before the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year, the Fallbrook Public Utility District board transferred $500,000 of annual appropriations from capital improvement payments to administration, operations and maintenance.
The 4-0 vote June 26, with Dave Baxter absent, adopted the resolution for the amended annual appropriations. The revised budget allowed for expenditures of $16,930,739 for administration, operations and maintenance while reducing the pay-as-you-go budget for capital projects and equipment to $7,624,350. The total $41,995,796 water budget amount was not modified, nor were the $13,617,771 for water purchases or the $3,822,936 for debt service.
The April 2023 FPUD board meeting included amending the district’s operating budget to reflect the extraordinary costs associated with multiple emergency pipeline repairs and numerous emergency backflow valve repairs, which occurred early in the year, as well as an increase in water deliveries from Camp Pendleton due to wet hydrology.
[The amount of water FPUD obtains from the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project will depend on weather conditions. FPUD will not receive any water in the event of an extreme drought. The minimum water delivery to FPUD will be 580 acre-feet for a very dry hydrological year, 1,300 acre-feet for a below-normal year, 3,100 acre-feet for a normal year (based on the average over the past 50 years), 5,120 acre-feet for an above-normal year and 6,320 acre-feet for a very wet year. A potential additional allocation of 400 acre-feet is possible, and FPUD also has the first right of refusal for excess water sold rather than used by Camp Pendleton, which could provide FPUD with up to 1,500 additional acre-feet annually while also providing Camp Pendleton with revenue for operations and maintenance.]
At the time, FPUD staff was projecting some savings on non-labor costs, but rather than adjusting appropriations in April, FPUD’s Fiscal Policy and Insurance Committee recommended against action until additional information was available while recommending that staff closely monitor expenditures.
Water treatment and production costs continued to exceed expectations as Camp Pendleton has increased water deliveries. The impact of the emergency repairs on labor and overtime budgets as well as supply costs contributed to the increased operating costs. The additional costs were still within the overall water budget amount, but the shift in expenses from capital to operating allowed for the transfer approved June 26.