June 20, 2014 11:06:56 AM
The Columbus Light & Water Board of Directors on Thursday approved next year's budget for its electric division, as well as a cost-of-living increase in pay for its 90 employees.
CL&W General Manager Todd Gale and Comptroller Mike Bernsen projected $39,722,778 in total income for the 2015 fiscal year between electric sales revenue and other income. They projected $39,379,900 in expenses, which largely include charges from CL&W's power supplier, Tennessee Valley Authority. Other expenses include distribution and maintenance, administration, depreciation and taxes and interest on long-term debt. A net profit of $388,378 is projected.
Gale and Bernsen projected a 2-percent revenue increase from residential and commercial sales and a 6-percent decrease in revenue from industrial customers including KiOR, which recently laid off 25 percent of its labor force at its plant on The Island and is in danger of filing for bankruptcy.
"Purchase power was trending down, but the past four or five periods it's been starting to tick up," Bernsen said. "That's due mainly to the loss of the big boys. Fuel cost adjustments have gone up every year. Trying to put the crystal ball on those numbers is pretty tough. We've got a slight increase even though they are flat."
The budget also includes $2,667,800 in capital expenditures.
Built into next year's budget is $85,000 in cost-of-living adjustments for employees. The board approved a 2.7 percent cost of living adjustment for employees who have been with CL&W for 10 or more years and a $1,000 raise for those who have worked for the utility provider for at least a year but fewer than 10.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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