by Deborah Steele Hazen
A draft 2014 budget for the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) was presented during a workshop session of the board of directors Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The board is scheduled to meet Friday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. in the PUD headquarters meeting room, 495 E. Columbia River Highway in Clatskanie, to adopt the approximately $50 million budget for the coming year.
In his memorandum to the board regarding the budget, general manager Marc Farmer stated that: “Industrial sales have been lowered from 2013 Budget levels to reflect delayed restart of the ethanol facility. The impact is partially compensated for by the corresponding increase in secondary (wholesale) power sales revenue. Wholesale power prices for 2014 look to be about the same as 2013 prices; around $30 per MWh (megawatt hour) annual average. This is about $10 per MWh higher than the very low prices experienced in 2012.
“Under the contract with Georgia-Pacific, most of the power cost increase will be recovered through the variable industrial rate mechanism. The $0.60 per kW (kilowatt) month increase to the industrial demand charge will cover the increased cost of transmission as well as other expenses of the District.
“The rest of our customers had their rates increased by about 2 mills per kWh (kilowatt hour), sufficient to cover the higher BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) and other expenses.
“The Rainier acquisition surcharge of one cent per kWh is expected to continue until late 2013, when the acquisition costs should be repaid. The revenue includes a decrease of $60,000 for Rainier commercial and $120,000 for Rainier residential.”
In regard to power supply and transmission cost increases, Farmer wrote:
“Expenses for BPA power and transmission cost increases are reflected in the Draft Budget. Rates for power purchased under the Slice & Block contract increased 3.7%. Rates for BPA transmission increased by 11.8%, but by reducing the District’s transmission purchases by 10 MW (megawatt) the overall cost increase for transmission was kept at 6.2%.”
The Arrowrock hydroelectric project is expected to bring the PUD about $1.8 million in prepaid assets in 2013.
Purchased power and other power supply costs amount to $37,259,000 of the PUD’s expected expenditures in 2014 of $49,575,000.
The continuation of the Wauna-Clatskanie 115kV (kilovolt) capable transmission line is the largest project being undertaken in 2014 with $1.75 million (including some funds already spent) allocated for 2014, which is adequate to extend the line from Marshland to approximately Westport. The first leg of the line, from Clatskanie to Marshland is currently being completed.
The final leg from Westport to Wauna will be the subject of more engineering, operations manager Don Smith explained to the board, because of issues with the placement of poles due to soil liquification problems.
Funding is also allocated “to focus on improving system reliability specifically addressing two of our problematic feeders,” Farmer wrote in his memorandum. “Feeder B serving the Delena/Alston area and Feeder D serving the Swedetown area both demonstrate high counts of outage numbers and multi-year plans are being developed to address the variety of issues on these lines to improve reliability and safety. In addition to these line improvements funds are allocated for improvements to substation oil containment and various aspects of the Loki generator. Going down a new path, this Draft Budget allocates initial funding of an Automated Metering Information (AMI) pilot project.”
Capital equipment in the proposed budget includes a “carry-over of $200,000 for the balance of payment for a replacement bucket truck to be delivered in early 2014. Other funding allocated is for replacement of two pick-up trucks that have exceeded 100,000 miles and are requiring increased maintenance costs.”
Improved communications with the public is a priority for Farmer, and the proposed budget allows for the “Ruralite Magazine,” a monthly publication focusing on the issues of rural utilities. It will include a two-page spread to introduce programs and current stories on the work of the Clatskanie PUD, an events calendar, a message from the manager, and an article highlighting local businesses and area history, which will be produced in cooperation with The Clatskanie Chief.
The 2014 budget for advertising, which includes the Ruralite, production and distribution of the annual calendar, advertising in various other publications, promotional materials, sponsorships, etc. is $90,000.
A breakdown of other budget expenses includes:
Distribution operations, including mapping maintenance, $645,000; distribution maintenance – general (including maintenance of supevision/engineering, structures, substations, overhead lines, underground lines, transformers, street lights, meters), warehousing and meter testing, $899,000; contract tree trimming crew, $400,000; pole testing, treatment and inspections, $90,000; customer accounting/collections, $615,000; customer services, $725,000; economic development, $5,000; administrative, $1,409,000; employee training, $85,000; outside professional services, $379,000; property insurance, $142,000; safety program, $104,000; pension and benefits expense, $1,421,000; general expenses, $31,000; board wages and travel, $99,000; memberships in the Northwest Public Power Association, American Public Power Association, Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, Public Power Council, etc., $123,000; maintenance of headquarters, $46,000; depreciation, $3,168,000; taxes, $927,000; Rainier Acquisition Amortization, $69,000, and interest on debt, $844,000.
That amounts to total operating expenses of $49,575,000, and net income of $518,000.
Staffing shows the number of regular positions at 38 total, one less than in the 2013 adopted budget. Temporary and college students are not included in that total.
The draft budget includes an overall wage increase of 1.75 percent, which is part of the collective bargaining agreement.
“We have included a $15 million bond issue in the Sources and Uses of Funds,” Farmer told the board. “We are anticipating repaying the $6 million in short-term debt by long-term 20 year bonding. We are also expecting to borrow an additional $9 million for current and future capital projects.
The draft budget shows a projected year-end cash balance of $8.9 million.
A full schedule of Christmas season events will follow hard on the heels of Thanksgiving in the Clatskanie and Rainier areas.
Candlelight Christmas Memorial Service
Families are invited to join together to remember Christmases past and the loved ones who have shared them in a candlelight memorial service Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m.
The annual event is presented by Groulx Family Mortuary and will be held at Alston’s Corner Assembly of God Church, 25272 Alston Road.
The service will include local ministers of various faiths, special music, a candlelight ceremony, Power Point presentation and refreshments.
Trees decorated with ornaments featuring loved ones’ names will adorn the sanctuary, and ornaments will be presented to families at the conclusion of the service, free of charge.
Carolling and Soup Supper Dec. 4
Clatskanie United Methodist Church is having a soup supper and Christmas carolling on Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Supper will be served in the church basement and is open to all, free of charge. Musical accompaniment for carolers will be provided by Bob Emminger.
Clatskanie United Methodist Church is located at 290 S. Nehalem Street.
“Breakfast with Santa” Dec. 7 in Clatskanie
A “Breakfast with Santa,” co-sponsored by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and Colvin’s Pub & Grill, is set for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in Colvin’s Banquet Room, 135 N. Nehalem Street in Clatskanie.
Children and their families are invited to enjoy a buffet breakfast of french toast, diced ham and scrambled eggs, fried rosemary red potatoes, biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage links, orange juice, hot cocoa and coffee.
Santa Claus will be in attendance and will be available for pictures and to hear Christmas wishes. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to bring their cameras.
Cost is $6 for children under 10, and $10 for older youth and adults.
Seating is limited and reservations are required by calling Colvin’s at 503 728-4122.
Santa at the Fire Hall
Jolly Old Saint Nick will also be available for pictures at the Clatskanie Fire Department, 280 SE 3rd Street, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.
A $3 donation per picture is suggested.
All proceeds will benefit the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District’s goal to purchase Christmas food baskets and gifts for local families in need.
Hospice Bazaar in Longview Dec. 7
The annual holiday bazaar and bake sale to benefit Community Home Health and Hospice will be held in Longview on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the hospice center at 1035 11th Avenue in Longview from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There will be raffles, vendors, Christmas carolers and baked goods. Proceeds will benefit hospice’s charity care and volunteer programs.
Rainier Tree Lighting Celebration Dec. 8
Rainier’s annual tree lighting celebration to illuminate the community Christmas tree will be held on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. in front of Rainier City Hall.
A visit by Santa is planned and all are welcome to join the festivities.
A welcome is extended by the City of Rainier and the Rainier Chamber of Commerce to those who would like to help decorate for Christmas.
Participants are asked to meet at Rainier City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 3, to be part of the decorating effort from 1 to 3 p.m.
For more information call Judith Taylor at 503 556-0457.
Rainier Senior Center Bazaar Dec. 7
A Christmas bazaar to be held at the Rainier Senior Center on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will benefit the senior center.
Santa will visit at the bazaar from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those who come are invited to bring their cameras for free pictures with Santa.
Vendors will offer homemade items for sale and the senior center will have food available for purchase including nachos, hot dogs, chili dogs and pies sold whole or by the slice. A quilt raffle is also planned.
School Concerts Dec. 10 and Dec. 19
Clatskanie Middle/High School’s (CMHS) annual Winter Music Concert, including the Clatskanie Elementary School (CES) fifth and sixth grade bands, is set for Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center at CMHS.
The CES winter assembly, featuring the first through sixth grades will be held at 1 p.m. in the CES Cardiff gym.
CAC Christmas Concert Dec. 14
Craicmore, featuring contemporary and traditional Celtic music, will perform a Christmas concert under the auspices of the Clatskanie Arts Commission on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Donavon D. Wooley Performing Arts Center at CMHS.
The concert is sponsored in part by the Clatskanie Arts Commission.
Community Christmas Dinner on Dec. 25
A community Christmas dinner, for anyone who needs a place to go on Christmas, is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Clatskanie Baptist Church fellowship hall.
For more information call 503 728-2304.
Red Kettle Ringers Sought
The Clatskanie TOPS Club is again heading up the effort to ring the bell for donations to the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle” program to raise funds to help local residents.
Volunteers are needed to take turns ringing the bell. Those interested in this community service are asked to call Laura Brewer at 503 780-1021.
Parents and community members are invited to a presentation on bullying and harassment hosted by Clatskanie Middle/High School on Monday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. in the school’s Donavon D. Wooley Performing Arts Center auditorium.
The presentation will be given by a representative of the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), who will speak to students during a school-wide assembly on Monday about what bullying and harassment is, what it looks like, what it is not, and what to do if they are victims.
Following the assembly with students, the OSBA will give a presentation to the CMHS staff on what signs to look for and what to do if they see bullying and harassment.
At the presentation Monday evening for parents and community members, the OSBA will given an overview of the day, review district policies, and conclude with questions from the audience.
THE RECIPIENT OF A FREE TURKEY, donated by Clatskanie Safeway, was Paulette Morris (right), who was the winner of the first drawing in the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce’s “Spirit of Christmas in Clatskanie” shop locally promotion. Awarding the turkey to Paulette is Pat Pierce (left), Clatskanie Safeway manager.
Local shoppers are encouraged to ask for “SPIRIT” cards at participating Clatskanie businesses. For each $10 spent, one of 30 boxes on the card will be marked off. In the case of financial institutions, the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD) and the City of Clatskanie, customers will receive one box checked off for every transaction – maximum one per day.
Completed cards should be turned in to the Clatskanie PUD office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27, for the final drawing in which Clatskanie Chamber Checks in the amounts of $100, $50 and $30 will be awarded. The checks may be spent like cash at Clatskanie businesses.
Businesses participating in the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce Holiday Spirit Spectacular Shopping Spree are: Clatskanie Floral/Carla’s Closet/Latté Da, Wauna Credit Union, Ixtapa, Clatskanie PUD, Clatskanie River Inn, M&N Workwear, Jim’s Garage, Hi-School Pharmacy, The Bag Ladies Yarn Shop, Sporty’s, Colvin’s Pub & Grill, Johnson Family Feed, Singing Dog Jewelry, Radio Shack/Clatskanie Market, Clatskanie Subway, The Hair Place, Hazen Hardware, City of Clatskanie, Discounts & Deals, Cronies, Clatskanie Builders Supply, State Farm Insurance, Quilted Dandelion, Quality Auto Parts, Fultano’s Pizza, Sterling Bank, Clatskanie Mini Storage, US Bank, Bundy’s, and The Clatskanie Chief. Chief Photo by Deborah Steele Hazen