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Capital expenses down for TID
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The relicensing of Don Pedro Reservoir and purchase of Turlock’s former police station/skate park on Palm Street, will account for a hefty sum of the 2014 capital expenses for the Turlock Irrigation District, based on budget numbers presented at a workshop on Tuesday.

According to the presentation, TID is looking at spending roughly $35.7 million in capital expenses for 2014.

If approved, the 2014 capital expenses would be a 29 percent drop from the 2013 numbers, which were marked at $48 million. In 2012, capital expenses accounted for approximately $84 million.

The significant drop over the last two years is largely due a decrease in costs associated with the 21 improvement projects expected to be completed next year.

Some of the more notable of those projects include the life extension measures and relicensing of the Don Pedro Project, change out of electric meters, water measurements, and improvements to the TID's newly acquired Palm Street complex by means of purchase of Turlock’s former police station and skate park.   

TID spokesperson, Herb Smart, stated that the although the expected capital expenditure has decreased, the projects selected for the 2014 budget all keep in mind the needs of the customer.

“Capital projects are designed to be in the best interests of the long-term needs of water and power customers,” said Smart. 

One of the biggest and important of the capital expenditures in 2014 is the relicensure and life extension of Don Pedro Reservoir. Based on the 2014 numbers, TID will be spending $5.9 million on ensuring the relicensing of  the body of water provides that provides irrigation for the 5,800 farms in Turlock.

Along with discussing capital expenses, Tuesday's meeting also shed light on the final year of rate increases based on environmental charges. In 2011, TID announced that it would be charging an additional four percent in fees in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The 4 percent increase set to begin in January of next year, will mark the last year of the increases.

Smart added that although the maintenance of a large budget is daunting, the District is making its decisions with its customers in mind.

“Maintaining a budget of this size has significant challenges,” said Smart. “But, the District will look to make the best decisions for the short- and long-term benefit of its customer-owners, in order to provide safe, reliable and affordable water and power for years to come.”

The board is expected to make a final decision on the budget in early December.