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DAVIS BURN PLANT BUDGET IS AN 8.75% INCREASE

The Davis Energy Recovery District has unveiled a $16.3 million budget for the 1996-97 fiscal year, an increase of 8.75 percent over the current year.

A public hearing on the budget will be held Wednesday, June 5, at 5 p.m. in the Davis County Courthouse, Farmington.District officials believe the budget's estimated expenditures are on the high side, while the revenues are probably lower than they will actually be.

"We wanted to be conservative," district finance director Dave Van De Graff, said of the new budget.

It includes using an estimated $830,000 from the reserve fund, but with increasing revenues and conservative estimates, that extra fund may not need to be tapped.

No new residential fee increases are planned in the district next year. In fact, the household $10 monthly fee the district instituted last year could improve its bond rating two levels by the end of the year.

The household fee provides a steady revenue stream, and district executive director LeGrand W. Bitter said in a period when the bond rating of other burn plants is being downgraded, the Davis-Morgan rating may go up.

There's a 5 percent salary and wage increase in the new budget, but that's not an across-the-board change.

Plant supervisor Jack Schmidt said it's an average and is contingent on merit increases and other factors. The district now has 59 employees and could add three more by the end of the year.

The district believes its $25 a ton commercial tipping fee is very competitive and is hoping to attract solid waste from other areas to increase revenue. The plant is not operating at capacity.

The household tipping fee accounts for $5.6 million of district income. It is based on 41,739 households paying $10 a month for an initial garbage container. There are 7,144 households paying $3 for a second container, while 7,000 apartments and condominiums pay $6.50 a month for their share of a large garbage, shared container.

In other income, $3.9 million will come from a commercial container charge. Tipping fees comprise $2.8 million of the budget and steam sales to Hill Air Force Base add $2.3 million.

The bond interest on the facility continues to be the district's largest single, non-capital fund expense at $2.8 million. Salaries are $2.2 million and maintenance is $1.8 million of the new budget.

The district also has a five-year capital budget plan. The 1996-97 installment includes spending $3.4 million on development of the new Layton landfill, with $1.5 million of that amount going to new cell construction.

The capital budget also includes expenditures of $1.2 million on burn plant improvements, $200,000 on an office addition and $240,000 on the new district landfill in Box Elder County.