The Cambrian

Cambria CSD board delays some budget modifications

Some proposed changes to the 2016-17 budget for Cambria’s services district are on hold for now, but modifications in the wastewater department fund were approved recently.

According to documents presented at the Board of Directors March 9 meeting, the proposed Cambria Community Services District operating budget for the fiscal year would have included more than $10.6 million in revenues and more than $11.4 million in expenses. The Sustainable Water Facility’s nearly $13.6 million budget would be $193,681 in the red.

The budget would run for another three months; a new budget is to be in place by June 30.

Board President Amanda Rice balked at approving the entire package, saying that since the revised budget would have been in place for such a short time, she felt that the finance committee, General Manager Jerry Gruber and department managers could work together to prioritize the added projects, delaying many of them until the 2017-18 budget.

She pointed out that, because the schedule for the district’s small staff is already pretty thoroughly packed for the next few months, some of those projects might not get done within that time frame anyway.

The board unanimously agreed to the delay — in a somewhat loosely worded motion — but also to authorize proposed changes in the wastewater-treatment budget, because some of those projects are time sensitive. That would include an additional $29,000 in repairs to the plant, $26,000 in maintenance and repairs, and what finance manager Patrick O’Reilly called a “dramatic increase” in the cost of electricity for the plant. Those expenses would create a $232,000 deficit in the department’s budget.

Also, Gruber said he’d bring to the board at the April 27 meeting two other changes, adding a new employee to be in charge of the Sustainable Water Facility and a revised job description and 5 percent raise for Carolyn Winfrey, assistant to district engineer Bob Gresens.

Gruber said the Regional Water Quality Control Board strongly recommended adding the SWF facility supervisor to the staff, and Winfrey’s new assignments would include project permits, conservation and SWF reporting.

The board also voted unanimously to receive the district’s annual audit for fiscal year 2015-16. Auditor Bob Crosby said, based on the district’s books, “overall, the district is in healthy shape, compared to some of the districts” for which he does audits.

Director Harry Farmer disagreed with that evaluation, challenging Crosby on items listed on several pages of the audit, including some statements written by the district, such as “despite all of these expenditures, there is still significant deferred maintenance in both the water and wastewater funds.”

Crosby replied that in a lot of districts, including CCSD, “infrastructure is getting very old, and tends to require more repairs and maintenance.”

Coming up

The next meeting of the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors will start at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the Veterans Memorial Building. Among items expected to be on the agenda are: Adoption of the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan; swearing in of a new firefighter; and reports from the Buildout-Reduction Program Citizens Committee, Parks Recreation and Open Space Commission and Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. A closed session is to include property negotiations with the county on possible purchase of the former Cambria library, and an evaluation for General Manager Jerry Gruber. For details, go to www.cambriacsd.org or call 805-927-6223.

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