TID Holds Workshop on Operations & Management, Looks to Eliminate Positions in 2012 Budget

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) held one more Operations & Management (O&M) Workshop before starting their series of budget meetings in the next month.  The Workshop focused on changes that the board can expect in O&M before starting the rest of the budget discussions. 

This year’s budget will reflect the change that was made this year dispersing Consumer Services between the General Manager’s office and Financial Services. A total of 50 positions were moved from Consumer Services, with 6 going to General Management and 44 going to Financial Services.  General Management ended up with a gain of 7 employees for 2012 and Financial Services ended up with a gain of 41 employees. The difference represents the 3 unfilled positions that were eliminated for the 2012 budget year.
The largest O&M budget increase was about $2 million in the area of Electrical Services due to the decrease in Capital Improvements. TID tries to complete as much construction as possible using in-house employment. However, the last section of the Hughson/Grayson Substation Transmission Lines will shift to Construction crews.  Therefore the line crews that were previously assigned to that project will return to the O&M budget. 
Although it is an increase, it is necessary to continue maintenance of the existing system. Many of the regular maintenance items were postponed this year so that line crews could work on the Hughson / Grayson Substation. That project will be complete in 2012 and the only continuous position necessary will be the substation and electrical needs. 
A total of 7 positions will be eliminated in the 2012 budget year. Each of these positions are unfilled and do not represent a displaced employee. 
"As key retirements come up, the position is held until the position can be evaluated,” explained Casey Hashimoto, TID General Manager. “If necessary, the position is filled.  If it is found that the position is not necessary, the position is eliminated."

The final budget will take shape over the next two months and will determine if there will be any impact on rates and fees for TID customers.

Back in August, TID hosted a series of workshops for customers to discuss potential rate increases in 2012. The District presented cost information and received input from customers, but not much was given.
The TID Staff presentation included information showing the need for rate increases, what the largest causes are for the rate increases, potentially increasing rates in each of the next two years by 4% – 7%, and with options that could be implemented on how to apply the increases to rate schedules.
A 4% rate increase for the average residential customer using 787 kilowatts-hours a month would translate into about $4 a month more on their bill. A 14% increase would equal about $15.00 a month more on an average residential customer’s bill.
TID’s electricity costs residential customers about 14 cents per kWh while Modesto Irrigation District charges about 17.5 cents per kWh.
A Rate Hearing will be held on November 22, 2011 at 9am in the TID Boardroom.

The first of many public presentations will occur to discuss the 2012 TID budget.  Below is the schedule of budget meetings:

October 18, 2011 – Preliminary Budget discussion with Board for General Manager and Financial Services Administrations.
October 25, 2011 – Preliminary Budget discussion with Board for Resource Management Planing & Rates and Civil Engineering
                            & Water Resources Administrations.
November 8, 2011 – Preliminary Budget discussion with Board for Electrical Engineering & Operations and Power Supply Administrations.
November 22, 2011 – Preliminary Budget discussion with Board for Water Operations Construction & Maintenance & Misc. Rates & Fees.
November 22, 2011 – Walnut Energy Center Authority and Tuolumne Wind Project Authority Budgets adopted by Board.
December 6, 2011 – TID Budget and Rates adopted by the Board.

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