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TUD wrestles with shortfall

The Tuolumne Utilities District Finance Committee would like to cover a projected revenue shortfall using money originally set aside to pay back the district’s Sewer Fund.

Finance Committee members Mike Sarno and Delbert Rotelli, who both serve on the TUD board, directed district staff at a meeting Tuesday to determine whether some of the lost revenue could be made up using a portion of about $1.6 million for sewer labor during the current fiscal year that lasts through June 30, 2015.


Due to significantly reduced water usage during the current drought, the district is expecting to see a roughly $1 million drop in revenue from service charges through January 2015. About $500,000 of the estimated shortfall would be covered by state grants and deferring some water-system repair projects until the next fiscal year.

“If you can’t find it that way, we’ll just have to come back and start cutting expenses,”  Sarno told district staff.

District board members have expressed a desire to close the revenue gap without burdening TUD customers with a rate hike or surcharge.

At an Aug. 12 meeting, the TUD board authorized District General Manager Tom Scesa to enter talks with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. about possibly selling between 2,000 and 3,000 acre-feet of water to the company this year.

The board also directed the Finance Committee to find ways of coming up with the cash internally, either through budget cuts or other means.

Holding onto some of the money that would otherwise be spent on labor for sewer work would be the “most painless” way to cover the difference, Sarno said.

“We’ll have to cut somewhere else if we don’t do it this way,” Rotelli added.


For the complete story, see the Aug. 20 edition of The Union Democrat.      

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