At the Oct. 19 Carroll-Boone Water District board meeting, Office Manager Cathy Klein stated the financial status of the district compares very well to their status through the same period in 2016. She said they have sold 54 million gallons of water less than expected, but this shortfall was offset by closely monitoring expenses.
Klein said payroll expenses have increased because they hired four new employees during the past two years, and of their 14 employees – 10 full-time and four part-time – four are 60 or older. Plant manager Barry Connell said he expects two of his crew to retire within 18 months, so he’s exposing new employees to more tasks around the facility so they have a better understanding of what it takes to run the plant.
Commissioners agreed to include a three percent increase in wages in the 2018 budget.
Klein said a cool, wet year is forecast for 2018, so she’s not expecting much of an increase in water sales. She noted, however, there will be boost is usage when the Tyson plant expansion in Green Forest goes online.
This year, the plant spent more than expected on repair of a generator, and although it’s working, it’s also one reason to increase the emergency fund next year. Klein also included $25,000 to update the Master Plan. Cost of disposing solids increased by just over 20 percent this year, and she is planning for $4.8 million in repairs over the next three years.
Connell commented the cost of sludge removal should be less. He has changed procedures in how they treat the water, and as a result instead of nine feet of sludge, it appears there will be only five or six feet.
He pointed out the roof of the office will require repairs costing as much as $80,000. He said Klein sometimes must place a receptacle for drips in her office. Chair James Yates asked Connell to give the board an estimate so they can decide whether to go toward a short term fix or “bite the bullet and fix it.”
Next meeting will be Thursday, January 18, at 10 a.m. at the Freeman-Raney Water Treatment Plant.