Members of the Vanceburg Electric Plant Board met
in regular session last week and adopted the budget for the fiscal year.
The $9,144,000 budget will allow for a one
percent pay increase for Plant Board employees, half the amount penciled in by
Superintendent Bill Tom Stone and one-third the usual annual increase of three
Stone presented the proposed budget to board
members and hit a few of the highlights.
Stone said no rate increases or customer base
changes were forecasted and estimated income for the utility company at about
the same as the previous year.
He said he had budgeted for a new bucket truck as
a replacement for an older truck that has been having increasing problems.
Stone said that by changing the health insurance
for employees to a high deductible health savings account the company will save
about 15 percent annually in health insurance costs. The company provides
insurance to employees at no cost to them.
Board Member Charles Ross questioned the two
percent pay increase indicated in the budget.
“The only part of it (the budget) that I have a
problem with,” Ross said.
Ross pointed out the sluggish economy and noted
that Social Security had not given a cost-of-living increase this year. He also
noted some of the utility departments were not projected to have income above
“We’re really not in very good shape in
anything other than electric,” Ross said.
Stone said the additional cost for employee
raises would amount to about $8,000 to $10,000 per percentage point. He said
payroll expenses for Fiscal 2010 amount to about $796,000.
“There is only one place to make this up,”
Ross said. “That’s to raise rates.”
After some discussion, board members agreed to a
one percent increase for employees.
Stone said he had devised the budget with a
conservative approach and hoped there would be no unforeseen expenses for the
utility company in the coming year.
Also budgeted is a monthly payment to the City of
Vanceburg. Payments stopped earlier this year after an auditor said the payments
were not supported by state law.
The auditor additionally said the City should be
paying for the utilities it consumes. Both the City and utility company have
retained their own separate legal representation and have been working on a
solution to the matter.
In other business, Stone reported that utility
workers are continuing to find damages associated with flash flooding on May 1
and 2. He said they have been working with FEMA representatives to document the
damages and recoup some of the costs associated with the repairs.
He said the costs associated with the repairs
will come to about $100,000.
Stone said a large transformer at the Black
Oak Industrial Park had failed and was replaced with a spare transformer. He
said the cost to repair the transformer is about $22,000.
He said the best bid submitted for a new
bucket truck is about $110,000. Board members authorized him to purchase a
truck chassis at the state contract price and negotiate for the truck to be
Stone said a new lineman had been hired but
later discovered he was in an employment contract with his current company
that wouldn’t allow him to accept the job with the Plant Board.
“We’re reviewing the interviews now and
will be contacting the next person in line to offer them the position,”
Stone said. He added he hoped to have the position filled within the next
couple of weeks.
Stone reported that work on a project to
provide about a dozen residences with water is about 80 percent complete.
“The contract with Rattlesnake Ridge Water District has been approved,”
he told board members.
He said work is continuing at a slower pace
now because workers are dealing with solid rock in some places while
installing water lines.
Kevin Cornette, with Buffalo Trace Area
Development District, updated members on the progress being made on the
combined sewer project for Vanceburg.
Cornette said the project was estimated to
cost about $6 million and reviewed funding possibilities for the project.
Board members authorized a letter of
commitment for $120,000 in matching funds toward the project. Other funding
will come from grants and low interest loans from various state and federal
As part of the project, Cornette said the
utility company would have to complete an independent rate study for sewer
rates for customers. He recommended the rate study be expanded to encompass
all utilities since the sewer rate is tied to the water rate for customers.
Stone said the water rate has remained
unchanged for customers since 1989.
Board members authorized a system-wide rate
study to be completed.
Stone told board members that water for
Vanceburg residents was scheduled to be off Wednesday evening (June 9) to
allow for the relocation of a fire hydrant where work is being done on the
Extension Office on Second Street.
Stone said some valves, which had become
inoperable, would also be replaced.
Board members approved the payment of bills
and financial reports before adjourning.