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Water conservancy district sets budget, makes plans for 2010

The San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD) will enter 2010 with an approved budget reflecting anticipated increases in revenue and expenses over 2009. And, according to an attached Budget Message for 2010, “ ... no increase in the mill levy is expected for the 2010 tax year.”

The message also suggests housing and commercial growth within the district continues, though at a lesser rate than in years past. Therefore, the district will closely monitor the situation and make planning adjustments as necessary. Meanwhile, providing a dependable and sustainable source of water supply remains the district’s primary objective.

Toward that end, the district has said it will continue working with the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) to obtain additional land for a future reservoir, the exact size of which will be determined sometime in the future.

It will also participate in the final phase of the Lower Blanco River Restoration Project in 2010, as it has throughout the first three phases. Once complete, the project will afford improved water quality, fishing and public access to several miles of mountain stream.

The bulk of the district’s anticipated 2010 income is based on property tax revenues subject to statutory limitation of $102,648. Calculated by a certified mill levy of 0.316 mills, it is based on a countywide assessed property valuation of $324,836,502, excluding bond and interest payments, and election-approved contractual obligations.

On the budget’s revenue side, the district expects $50,000 in grants (Environmental Protection Agency and Southwest Water Conservation District); the $102,648 in mill levy money; $7,500 in specific ownership tax; $2,700 in delinquent tax and interest; and another $6,000 in interest earned. The total should equal $169,348, or some $63,000 more than last year.

As for expenses, the proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir project will account for the lion’s share, with $162,050 going to land acquisition and water rights. The Blanco River restoration project will receive $5,000 in district support; while other ditches and streams, cloud seeding and various contributions will total another $3,500. Assorted administrative and legal expenses will add up to $49,400, as public relations, education, and treasurer’s fees will cost $5,600. Total expenses should be $225,550.

In 2010, the district expects expenses to exceed those of 2009 by approximately $33,400. As the new year begins, its budgetary fund balance will amount to $220,279, while its year-end budgetary fund balance should equal $164,077. The 2010 beginning balance will be roughly $86,000 less than last year’s, while the ending balance will fall short of last year’s by about $56,000.

For more information regarding the SJWCD 2010 budget, visit the district Web site at sjwcd.org, or call Shellie Tressler at the PAWSD office, 731-2691.

chuck@pagosasun.com