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Utilities board facing major budget issues

At the Aug. 15 meeting of Roanoke Utilities Board, Manager Pam Bonner told the board she is working on the new budget but there is going to be some major changes.

“I am working on the budget for next year, but the expenses have increased so much that some major adjustments will have to be made,” she said. In some cases budget items are almost double this year with three months remaining in this year’s budget. Board members agreed that something has to be done, but did not want to talk about a solution right now.

Bonner shared some of the following budget numbers:

  • Gas purchases (natural gas) budgeted for $450,000, currently $902,742 or 267.48 percent of budget.
  • Chemicals for water treatment budgeted for $69,000, currently $95,795 or 185.11 percent of budget.
  • Utilities budgeted for $210,000, now at $167,495.43 or 106.35 percent.
  • Gasoline and oil budgeted for $18,000, now $22,406.88 or 165.98 percent.

Bonner said she is going to squeeze everything into the budget she can. “Just like everything else, the prices are going up.”

Board member Walter Sudduth said the board cannot continue to spend more than it is taking in.

In other business from her report:

  • Testing at the water treatment plant will increase due to federal mandates.
  • Paving downtown is continuing, and utility employees are making sure everything around manholes is done properly.
  • The crews repaired several water leaks.
  • The board discussed the need for painting all fire hydrants in the city

The board closed their meeting in executive session to talk about an employee’s good name and character.

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