By Tim Fleischer Editor-in-Chief
Through the first two months of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the Salado wastewater system has lost $27,685.82, requiring an injection of cash from the general fund, according to the financial statements through November 2019.
Through December 2019, 62 properties have applied for building permits to connect to the sewer system. In addition, the campuses of Salado ISD on Thomas Arnold Rd. and Salado School Road, Salado High School and the Salado Civic Center on Main Street have connected to the sewer system (not requiring a building permit).
The wastewater system fund for 2019-2020 budgets income of $238,115.52 chiefly in monthly service fees from customers.
It also budgets total expenses of $209,370 for the fiscal year. The majority of the expense is $160,920 for the maintenance contract. Other major budgeted expenses are $37,200 for electricity, $10,000 for sludge disposal and $1,000 for TCEQ fees.
Through the first two months of the fiscal year, the wastewater fund expenditures have totaled $45,266.95, including $6,218.84 in legal fees associated with impact fees.
Service fee revenues have totaled $17,573 for October and November. The Village billed $9,126.02 in monthly service fees in November. The largest customer was Salado ISD. According to the school district financial report for November, Salado ISD paid $2,266.06 for wastewater service. The fees for November did not include the Salado High School campus or Salado Civic Center, both of which have since tied in to the sewer.
The wastewater budget anticipates $28,745.72 in excess revenues over expenditures for 2019-2020 FY. With fewer than half of the initial customers having applied for permits, including large users such as churches and restaurants, the shortfall of income over expense for wastewater will continue.
A February 29, 2020 deadline for initial customers to connect to the wastewater system looms, so there may be a flurry of activity in the coming 45 days. Even at that, new customers in January will not bring income into the Village until February and February customers will not pay service fees until March, which is almost halfway through the current FY for the village.
Other than the school properties, there have been no “new developments” tying into the sewer system.
One of those anticipated new developments, Sanctuary, scaled back its Phase I to 40 houses. At a base fee of $20 per month, Sanctuary will fill the Village coffers with $800 in base fees for service when Phase I is built out.
The other development on Royal has not yet connected either. At a total of 171 properties, it could bring in base sewer fees of $3,420 per month.
Even at a quick pace of growth for these new developments, the income from wastewater fees will not likely hit Village coffers until the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
The Village could be staring at a deficit wastewater budget of more than $100,000 for the FY2019-2020, requiring even more injections of cash from the general fund.