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OKANOGAN - Finances continued to be the main topic of discussion at an Okanogan County Public Utility District board meeting July 8.

The district received its final Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement - $494,870.46 - in June for the 2014 Carlton Complex fire, said Don Coppock, director of accounting, finance and administration/auditor. The total project cost was about $11.5 million, of which about $8.2 million was reimbursed.

Ron Gadeberg, director of power resources and broadband services, said wholesale power sales were again under budget, by nearly $50,000 in June. Retail sales for May were $16,031 better than budget.

The ups and downs of the market throughout 2019 now have power sales $2.7 million short of budgeted revenue, which had been projected to be $49.3 million.

Weather and power market issues caused power prices to spike this past winter, costing the district nearly $2 million more than budgeted in power purchases in February and March.

Treasurer Janet Crossland said the district’s unrestricted funds dropped just below $10 million for the first time in several years.

General Manager Steve Taylor said the district’s financial targets are still above what the district needs, but the extraordinary power expenses could mean the district cuts back on capital projects, borrows from the rate stabilization fund (which contains $6.1 million) or borrows elsewhere to cover an anticipated shortfall at the end of the year.

Taylor and Crossland said expect to bring financial policies, including one regarding the rate stabilization fund, to the next board meeting.

In other business, the board:

-Heard from Gadeberg that the broadband department added more customers to its system, now at 2,975 in both fiber (453) and wireless/wi-fi (2,522).

-Approved two resolutions for surplus. The operations department had several vehicle bumpers and eight aging vehicles to declare surplus. The broadband department had switches, cards, modules and other assorted items.

-Heard from Taylor that the District will make a land purchase for the Ophir substation at $105,000.

-Set future meetings for Sept. 9 and 23; Oct. 7 and 21; Nov. 4 and 18; and Dec. 2, 16 and tentatively 30.

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