There is only one time during the year that it makes sense for San Angelo's City Council to consider rebating a portion of their water fees. It is after the close of September's financials. It is both the end of the fiscal year and the end of high water usage as summer's heat begins to abate.
Somehow the City's award winning financial department conned Council into examining rebates in April and November of each year. The November account is paltry or empty. Finance transfers fund excesses, often in the multi-million dollar range, as part of its year end close (done in October). April is also too early as it's before the Water Department's big summer months.
Recall have far the water revenue budget was behind earlier this year? A $2.4 million figure comes to mind. The just approved City Budget for 2014-2014 shows a projected deficit of $606,608 in the Water Operating/Enterprise Fund for this year. This is after the transfer out of $6.1 million to other accounts.
Budgets are projections, so the final tape on water revenues could be shared at the October 21st City Council meeting. I hope it is. The public deserves to know. If not October, then the public will hear something in November. The question is what?
Michael Dane: Well, each April and November we have an ordinance on the books that requires Staff to look at the fund balance in the water fund and to consider whether the rates, the revenue generated warrants, or has created the situation where we can provide a rebate to rate payers. We’re gonna do that in November anyway; we’ll be discussing results of operations, the net income, or the net loss; that’d be the perfect time to discuss this opportunity so, if this passes we’re interpreting this as a “Be ready to discuss this in November when you talk about the water fund balance.”
Watch for what staff brings to the meeting. I expect one month's performance for 2014-15 and their usual delta approach on how 2013-14 ended. Hopefully, they'll bring more, show budget and actual performance while noting any water fund transfers made.
This may not be the year for rebates, but it's also not the year to raise fees dramatically to make up for a prematurely represented deficit.