Water and Sewer budgets approved

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 5:45pm

In a meeting that was both quiet and quick, the fiscal year 2021 budgets for the Water Company and Wastewater Treatment Facility were approved at their annual Financial Town Meetings on Monday, July 6.

The meeting took place at the Block Island School gymnasium, with the minimum number of required registered voters in attendance.

With every voter voting “yea,” the $779,880 budget for the Water Company was approved, as was the $1,392, 531 budget for the Treatment plant.

The town’s Deputy Financial Manager, Mona Helterline, said at the outset of the meeting that both budgets were relying on drawing from cash reserves, and that the Water Company budget also included a 12.5 percent user fee increase to help cover the costs of a $2.4 million water main replacement project scheduled for the fall.

The Treatment Plant budget includes a 3.75 percent increase to user fees to “offset the impact to reserves and also help fund the upcoming Resiliency Project,” Helterline wrote in an overview of the budget presentation.

The contribution from the Water Company’s reserve fund is $201,966 (as opposed to $0 for the past two years). The contribution from the Sewer Company’s reserve account is $279,644.

“With a high level of uncertainty, the summer flows will have to be closely monitored. Flexibility will be key. Stronger than planned July and August flows will allow for greater flexibility going forward, weaker than planned flows will require further mid-year reduction of expenditures,” Helterline wrote.

That overview also outlined some of the direct impact the lockdown has had on the budget. “Some planned projects, training and employee compensation adjustments have been deferred,” wrote Helterline.