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TUD Revenue Problems Sent to Committee

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne Utilities District wants more discussion on its revenue problems due to water conservation efforts as well as a history report on how the district got to the current water level.

The total water revenue lost in the 2014 budget year was approximately $230,819, when compared to 2013 billings. Staff reported the current estimated revenue shortfall is around $1,082,306. The total estimated revenue sources are $579,126, which leaves a deficit of $503,180.

At today’s meeting, the Board voted unanimously to have its finance committee dive into all aspects of how to solve the revenue shortfall. One option discussed was a possible $3 to $4 residential surcharge for 6 months to make up the deficit. Director Mike Sarno blasted that idea saying he would not vote for it and did not think any other member would either after how the community has sacrificed.

Another option discussed was selling approximately 2000-acre feet of water in Pinecrest Lake back to PG &E. Sarno told the board it is an avenue they should explore.

“Regardless of the reasons of how it got there, if it’s there and we have no use for it and we can’t give it to the community; we’ve got to sell it.  If we don’t sell it we’re going to lose it. If it’s going to generate revenue, we need the revenue,” said Sarno.

The board voted 3 to 1 to allow General Manager Tom Scesa to enter into discussions with PG & E to buy back water. Director Kent Johnson was the lone no vote.

The board also voted unanimously to have the water committee do a historical review of how the District got to this water level and report back to the board.

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