2nd Budget Committee Meeting 2021 Proposed Budget – December 1, 2020
Board approved at its February 10, 2021, Regular Board Meeting.
Board members: John DeWenter, Chair; Mike Eyster, Vice-Chair; Pat Riggs-Henson; David Willis; Robert Scherer.
Lay Members: Kris McAlister, Budget Committee Chair; Neal Forrester; Kori Rodley; Terri Dillon – excused absence; Steve Moe – excused absence; Michael Guidero – excused absence; Bobbie Adams – excused absence.
Staff: Jeff Nelson; Bob Fondren; Sanjeev King; Greg Miller; Janis Brew; Cindy Flaherty.
Jeff Nelson shared that there are a number of members unable to participate in the meeting tonight, and will be noted in the attendance. There is, however, a quorum present with eight members in attendance out of the twelve Budget Committee members.
Call to Order
Budget Committee Chair Kris McAlister called the meeting to order at 5:09 p.m. and led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Chair McAlister asked Jeff Nelson to begin his presentation on the proposed 2021 budget.
Presentation on Proposed 2021 Utility Budget
Jeff Nelson stated he would share a PowerPoint presentation (Exhibit A), similar to the one he provided at the first Budget Committee meeting held on November 9, 2020. However, he will discuss a few modifications during his presentation tonight. He will also discuss the proposed water rate increases with the Committee, and made note that there were no public comments during the November 18 public hearings for the 2021 budget and water rate increase.
Mr. Nelson then provided an overview of SUB’s process for the budget and rates for 2021, shared highlights of SUB’s 10-Year Plan, discussed reserve levels and debt schedule, and shared details on assumed rate increases for electric, water, and dark fiber, information on cumulative investment and revenue for Telecom Net Neighborhoods. He also shared a brief update on the proposed budget for Project Share, and briefly discussed pandemic and economic impacts. The Committee shared discussion on Project Share, and the Committee’s concerns on issues related to households that fall just above the low-income standard who continue to not be eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) nor Project Share.
Following discussion, Committee consensus was for staff to present to the Board different scenarios that look at increasing the per customer amounts for Project Share, and some scenarios of what it could look like, either with the October to April window or a year round window.
Presentation on Proposed Water Rate Increase
Jeff Nelson provided a PowerPoint presentation to the Committee on Proposed 5.0% Water Rate Change for 2021 (Exhibit B), that includes a 50/50 percent scenario, with 50- percent to be applied to the base charge and a 50-percent to be applied to the usage charge.
* John DeWenter motioned, and Pat Riggs-Henson seconded, that SUB’s Budget Committee approves the proposed rate change, and recommends that it be forwarded to the Board with the Committee’s recommendation to adopt a proposed five percent (5.0%) overall water rate increase with 50-percent (50%) to be applied to the base charges, and 50-percent (50%) to be applied to the usage charges, and to be effective January 1, 2021, on all billing statements rendered on or after February 1, 2021, for the 2021 Budget. This motion carried unanimously.
Further Discussion on Proposed 2021 Utility Budget
The Committee shared brief discussion on capital expenses, reserves, and that Bonneville’s projected rate increases may cause adjustment to the 2021 budget before potential Board approval at the December 9 Board meeting.
Recommendation to the Board on Proposed 2021 Utility Budget
Following discussion and having completed review of the proposed 2021 Utility Budget at tonight’s meeting, the Committee made the following motion:
* John DeWenter motioned, and Mike Eyster seconded, that SUB’s Budget Committee approve the proposed budget for 2021, as presented, with one modification to recommend a proposed two and one-half percent (2.5%) dark fiber rate increase for the 2021 Budget. This motion carried unanimously.
Robert Scherer noted that tonight is Pat Riggs-Henson’s last Budget Committee meeting, and thanked her for the many years of service to SUB Budget Committee and expressed the Committee’s appreciation. Chair McAlister thanked everyone for participation in tonight’s meeting.
Being no other business the meeting was adjourned by consensus at 5:53 p.m.
Mike Eyster, Board Chair
Jeff Nelson, Board Secretary