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Water board considers budget for coming year

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The Santa Fe Irrigation District board got a look on Thursday, May 17, at the water agency's proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, a spending plan that calls for $30.8 million in operational costs and $10.4 million in capital projects.

A public hearing is set for June 21 when the board can approve the final budget for the coming year.

The budget anticipates an 8 percent increase in water sales, to 10,170 acre feet. The total includes 450 acre feet of recycled water. (An acre-foot is equivalent to 325,851 gallons).

The district's capital improvement budget will increase significantly in the coming year, as a number of projects move from design to construction. Most of the projects are at the R.E. Badger Filtration Plant and the San Dieguito Reservoir. The district co-owns both facilities with the San Dieguito Water District.

Due to a drier than normal winter, the district projects less availability of cheaper, local water from Lake Hodges, with about 83 percent of its water being imported from water wholesalers and 17 percent coming from local supplies.

The draft budget does not include a rate increase for 2019, but that could change following the completion of a "cost of service study" now underway. The San Diego County Water Authority is proposing a 2.9 percent increase next year, including both commodity and fixed charges, which would be passed along to SFID's customers.

In other news, Jeanne Deaver, who has served as the Santa Fe Irrigation District's administrative services manager for the past 13 years, has retired from her position. She was recognized for her service at the district's board meeting on Thursday, May 17.

Among her duties was preparation of the district's annual budget. She also oversaw the district's finance and accounting, information technology, customer service and human resources functions.

"All who have had the privilege to call her a co-worker know well that Ms. Deaver has throughout her tenure with the District maintained an unparalleled sense of pride in her work and professionalism," said a staff report on Thursday's agenda.

Also on Thursday, the district introduced Seth Gates as the new administrative services manager.

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