Kennewick Irrigation District ratepayers are not seeing an increase in assessments next year and the agency is ending the year with a few hundred thousand dollars more than expected in its 2011 budget.
Budgeted expenses for 2011 were less than expected, Colleen Storms, KID's treasurer, told the board this week.
Almost half of the $221,445 came as reduced expenses for salaries, benefits, unemployment claims and training because of turnover in staff and vacant positions not being filled.
Storms said the gain on the bottom line is because of efficiencies and changes in operations.
This is the second year KID has seen large savings related to efficiencies involving staffing realignment.
Last year, there was just over $500,000 realized from unspent wages, salaries and benefits, noted Chuck Freeman, district manager.
The additional money this year is a timely bit of good news. The board voted a week ago in a special meeting to spend about $500,000 on canal-lining material that was days away from a large price increase.
The liner is being used this winter to complete work before the 2012 irrigation season and for future work.
Storms said revenues from 2012 will make up some of the cost in the pre-purchase of canal lining material, replenishing the money taken from 2011 funds.
Also this week, the board welcomed the good financial news by amending the 2011 budget to put additional money toward a fund for covering emergencies such as canal breaks or other system failures, and to assign other new-found money toward future purchases of equipment as needed.
KID's 2011 budget was about $9.8 million for total expenditures as approved a year ago. But with the board's amendments as approved this week, the 2011 budget's projected expenditures will be $11.2 million.
That includes transfers into reserve accounts amounting to almost $1 million.
Freeman said this is the third consecutive year with no increases for ratepayers.