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TID engages in water, power budget discussions

The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors continued budget talks on Tuesday with presentations from Water Supply and Power Supply administrators regarding the 2016 Proposed Business Plan.

“The goal is by Dec. 15 to have the Board adopt the budget and the rates,” said General Manager Casey Hashimoto earlier this month.

In the operations and maintenance budget, Assistant General Manager of Water Resources Tou Her said that the proposed 2016 budget for administration is $1.1 million, which is about a 20 percent reduction from the 2015 budget.

Civil engineering has a proposed budget of $2 million in 2016, which Her said is “basically the same” as 2015. Her also proposed $582K for security and emergency preparation, $7.1 million for construction and maintenance, $6 million for water distribution and $5.5 million for transportation and facilities.

The La Grange and Don Pedro Recreational Agency net of contributions is an approximately 33 percent increase from the 2015 budget at $2.5 million.

 “There is a 9.5 percent increase in the budget itself, but this is an increase in the budget, not necessarily an increase in the amount of money that TID has,” said Her. “There are some components that are in here that are transfers from some other administrations.

“It’s a shifting of the budget,” explained Her.

Her said that budget changes for Water Resources Administration include wage increases that work out to roughly 3 percent, 136 full time equivalent employees, approximately $250K less labor to Capital, the addition of Palm Property, more security and emergency preparation, and increased weed, moss and rodent control.

Significant numbers in the 2016 proposed capital budget include $2.4 million for irrigation capital, $1.2 million for vehicles and equipment, $3.6 million for SBx7-7 measurement and $5.7 million for the Palm Street Operations Complex.

Following Her’s presentation, the Board requested more information on a number of items, including the district’s gunite program, the Lateral 8 expansion, and the canal inspection protocol. A follow-up workshop is scheduled for Tuesday.

For Power Supply Administration, Assistant General Manager of Power Supply Administration Brian LaFollette said the operations and maintenance budget includes $8.5 million for administration, which is an increase from the $8 million adopted for 2015. LaFollette also proposed $1.7 million for hydro plants, $2.1 million for system control and load dispatch, $301K for the Walnut Power Plant, $5.3 million for the Almond Power Plant and $14.3 million for the Walnut Energy Center.

Also included in the proposed 2016 operations and maintenance budget is $14.8 million for the Tuolumne Wind Project and $3.2 million for the Almond 2 Power Plant.

“Overall, the requested O&M budget for Power Supply Administration is 1.6 percent higher than it was in 2015,” said LaFollette.

LaFollette said that Power Supply Administration budget changes include wage increases plus steps, 81 full time equivalent employees and a software application, “Ascend Analytical.”

“This is something that is really going to give us some new insight into our portfolio, it’s a package that will run and resolve a lot faster, and better user interface,” said LaFollette. “It will give us the ability to look in a more analytical way.”

LaFollette also said the 2016 proposed capital budget for Power Supply Administration includes $2.2 million for gas fields, $1 million for Tuolumne Wind Project Spare GSU Transformer, and $1.6 million each for Walnut Energy Center Unit #1 and Unit #2 Hot Gas Path Inspections.

TID also took action on Tuesday to elect Director Joe Alamo as President, Director Charles Fernandes as Vice President, and Director Michael Frantz as Secretary.  The two-year officer positions will go into effect on Dec. 1.