City Council wraps up workshops on FY 2021-2022 budget

Published 5:00 pm Friday, May 7, 2021

The Elizabethton City Council wrapped up its second workshop to review the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 at the Elizabethton Electric conference room looking primarily at the Water Sewer Fund and the Electric Fund during its second meeting.

Some of the notable budget changes and highlights for the water/sewer fund on the expenditure side included a change of $14,250 on the operational side due to adding two temporary employees in staffing.

There was also a change of $16,795 which was caused by various operations including an increase in credit card processing charges and gasoline which caused a majority of the increase.

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On the water/sewer transportation and operations side, the budget showed a change of $279,475 with $200,000 created by the painting of the Sabine Tank.

City Manager Daniel Estes informed the Council that this was one of the last tanks to be painted of the ones utilized by the city.

The remaining monies will help cover the increase in cost for parts for sewer line maintenance.

An increase caused by several one-time maintenance expenditures for sewer plants pushed back by COVID created an increase of $146,260 to the operational cost at the sewer treatment plant.

Also, there was an increase amounting to $100,950 on the sewer construction side to help fund architectural/engineering, parts for sewer line construction, and crushed stone/sand.

During the discussion, Estes shared with the Council how great strides have been made in regard to water line repairs but now was the time to refocus some time on the repairs of sewer lines.

“The sewer lines are deeper than the water lines,” Estes stated. “For that reason, it takes a four-man crew instead of the three-man crew which is used on water line repairs.

“We propose taking a three-man crew from water-line repair and adding a fourth person to make it a four-man repair team. It’s a tradeoff that needs to be made.”

Councilman Jeff Treadway questioned whether there would be any additional training required to make the move.

Estes shared that there are several crews who have been crossed trained to do both.

On the electric fund side, Estes and Elizabethton City Finance Director Preston Cobb shared four changes and highlights for the Council to be made aware of on the expenditure side of operations.

In distribution expense, a change of $87,596 was made due to an increase in overtime and call out for linemen.

The CSA upgrade for the AMI project has also added an additional $182,652 to the budget with $162,000 set aside for AMI and $60,000 for the new Honeywell hosting expenditures for the AIM project.

A change of $143,106 was made on the administration and general side of the fund for an increase in materials and supplies for Schneider Electric and AMI metering upgrades and ESRI.

Finally, a change of $110,001 was added to maintenance expense with a majority of that increase caused by substation test work ($24,190) and tree trimming/spraying ($50,000).

Estes advised the Council that he and Cobb had sifted through much of the budget to prioritize the most critical items but there were other items that Council would have to review to see if they wanted to proceed with or not.