The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Budget meeting was on Friday May 11th at 10:00am and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall.
Budget Presentation: The Lake Manager started the meeting presenting the budget to the budget committee. It described the five priorities that have been set by the DLWID Board in previous meetings. These priorities include:
- Develop and implement a strategy for the aquatic vegetation management and control.
- Finish the septic tank revitalization program creating an ordinance which will provide the data necessary to complete the septic systems database. Use that database to estimate septic tank loading as part of the total watershed nutrient load.
- Increase District’s time spent on the lake to promote communication to property owners, while conducting a lakeshore photographic survey. Also re-evaluate the cyanobacteria postings from the District.
- Determine the source of E. coli on Thompson Creek.
- Determine the methods we can use and those to collaborate with to sewer the rest of the watershed.
He then continued on to describe a list of other additional programs and activities the District maintains are presented. There is more detail on each area at http://www.dlwid.org/Projects.html. The categories include
- Conferences and Trainings: NALMS, OLA, & SDAO
- Emergency Preparedness
- Internship Program
- Lake Level Management
- Outreach Programs
- Property and Planning Issues
- Safety Program
- Save our Shorelines (SOS)
- Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Stakeholder Process
- Water Quality Programs
A description of the funds that are available each year from the tax base. These general resources include $163,404 existing resources in various accounts received from taxes levied in 2012. The Districts forecasts tax receipts of $189,428 during the coming fiscal year. The total resources available to the District equal $352,832 in the coming year.
The District also maintains a reserve fund with considerable resources that are to be directed the purposes of the fund are for vegetation management, watershed protection, capital improvement, water quality improvements, cyanobacteria (aka, blue-green algae) control, and other improvements seen necessary by the Devils Lake Water Improvement District. This fund include an existing account balance of $297,366, with $56,910 to be transferred from the general fund, $16,319 from interest and grants are also included. The final element of the reserve fund is a $400,000 loan to be used for acquisition of the Union 50 Club bringing the total reserve fund balance to $760,116.
The Lake Manager then presented the expenditures of the District at a high level. This year’s budget includes the following expenditures.
|Material & Supplies:|
|Vegetation Management & Control||$69,000|
|Salary, Payroll Taxes & Benefits||$48,880|
|Boat & Motor||$5,000|
|RESERVED FOR FUTURE EXPENDITURE||$103,909|
Discussion by Budget Committee: Members of the budget committee discussed the terms used to describe the impoundment structure wanting to know why it is not longer referred to a fish control structure instead now referred to as a dam. It was explained that we now simply operate it as a dam. It was then stated that the purpose of the budget process was not to set policy but instead to set funding levels for the District, it’s about keeping options open.
The conversation then went to a discussion about purchase of the Union 50 Club and why we have that in the budget when the board has not approved the purchase. The budget chair explained that we put these funds in to make things like the purchase a possibility and make it possible for the board to have option to consider such a purpose. Still there was a question about why the CAFÉ purchase was in the budget when as a $400,000 budget item it was not even listed in the top five priorities listed by the board.
There was a pointed out that the district is changing and it appears that the City is paying more attention to the lake. The D-River was given as an example where the City is interested in developing the area as a recreational area. The budget contains no funds to serve the greater City such as dredging the river, donations to Kiwanis or Rotary, etc. One board member said the district is changing from a homeowners association to a more community oriented entity.
Public Comment: There was 1 interested party in attendance. It was pointed out that 200 plus citizens tried to communicate to the board in the last board meeting and that there were significantly less at this meeting. It was suggested that the difference was more about the need for people to work and make a living the more were not in attendance not a lack of interest.
The comments continued to suggest that the board should consider that the decisions they make in the June board meeting related to the dam may impact the level of expenditures required to run the district. Without the dam there would be no reason to have full-time staff at the district. There would be no dam to operate, monitor or maintain. The cyanobacteria program was questioned as Devils Lake is the only lake in Oregon that has such a program, all other lakes are managed by the State as it relates to these postings. The Save or Shoreline program will be unnecessary as the water will be yards from shore and within the current climate no homeowners will like participate. The septic program hasn’t gotten off the ground and there is little likelihood of the City moving forward, not much will be lost if abandoned. The district could revert to a part-time manager as is how it operated for years. It was suggested that the budget wouldn’t need to be much more than $20,000 to $50,000 to create a budget and run the board meeting. That combined with an occasional $30,000 for a specific project, the district should be able to operate.
It was also suggested that the district should review how it manages its reserve fund as it appears that many projects are now being funded from that resource. Today vegetation management, the SOS program, the CAFÉ and several other projects are funded from the reserve fund a total expenditure of $522,000. The suggestion was to classify the reserve fund as a restricted reserve fund which took some special action to draw from. It could be a public hearing process for a specific project or voter approval for the same. The budget committee was asked to discuss this idea in its meeting.
Budget Committee Actions: There were several resolutions presented to modify the budget in the meeting.
Whereas the CAFÉ proposal is felt to be a distraction and not necessary to provide the mission of the DLWID to provide safe lake water at a pool level appropriate for multi-use recreation and free of navigation hindering aquatic vegetation – therefore it is proposed that all Budget Officer allocations or comments concerning the CAFÉ be eliminated. Specifically at a minimum eliminate SB-30 line 10 & line 26, LB- line 17, and LB-31 line 6.
Motion Failed on a 2 to 7 vote.
Expansion of Us CAFÉ Motion
A motion was presented to add $100,000 for the possible use to dredge the lake potentially near the Union 50 Club as well as funding for the first steps of planning for sewers around the lake. The goal of the motion was to diversify the line item to permit the district to incur indebtedness for these projects.
Motion Passed on a 8 to 1 vote.
Project Manager Motion
Whereas the “Project Manager” has finished most of the work on Septic Inspections, SOS, and associated technology transfer, Seth should be commended for his hard work and recommended for employment elsewhere where his talents would be appreciated and properly compensated,
Therefore the Budget Officer should remove the proposal of $48,880 on LB-11 line22, for funding the position of the Project Manager from the 2012-13 budget.
The Motion was withdrawn after discussion.
Restricted Reserve Fund Motion
Convert the Reserve Fund $760,000 to a Restricted Reserve Fund. This will restrict the district to live within the General Fund resource from year to year. This will give them access only to the current year tax levy. The resolution will direct a maximum possible percentage of the annual taxes to the Restricted Reserve Fund. The Restricted Reserve Fund would be held aside for a special project budget that was presented to the citizens and authorized in an election by a majority.
The Motion Failed 1-7 with on abstaining.
Budget Committee Recommendation: The budget committee recommends the budget officer version of the DLWID 2012-2013 budget to the board for their consideration. The meeting adorned at 2:30pm/