By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER
For the first time in many years, Groveland Community Services District passed a balanced budget.
"They used to balance the budget by dipping into the reserves," GCSD General Manager Jim Goodrich said after the Monday meeting. Goodrich couldn't name a year in which the board hadn't counted on savings to help the district get by.
That approach left dwindling reserves and not enough money to pay for big projects in the future.
This fiscal year, with the help of increased sewer rates and expected increased water rates, the district will be able to pay its bills and save a little, too.
Goodrich said he anticipates water rates will rise in about six months.
That will help GCSD pay for critical items, "like getting our sewage lift stations upgraded so we don't have uncontrolled spills," Goodrich said.
Board Vice President Craig Maxwell said he was happy with the numbers.
"It's a very detailed budget," Maxwell said. "We've looked at about every corner of the business that we can."
The new budget redistributes tax dollars between water service, district parks and the fire department.
"In the past there had been a substantial portion of tax revenue allocated to water funding, leaving parks and fire really short," Maxwell said.
That deficit prompted the board to propose and voters to approve a special fire assessment last year of $60 per home per year for average residential lots.
Maxwell said he hopes better, detailed accounting will, in a few years, cut that number in half.
"If we can pull that off, it might be a first for a public agency actually reduce something," Maxwell said.
Contact Genevieve Bookwalter at gbookwalter @uniondemocrat.com.