ROSAMOND — The Rosamond Community Services District Board of Directors unanimously approved a nearly $10.4 million operating budget Wednesday, one that reflects increased revenues generated by water and sewer rate hikes approved last month.
The budget “allocates the necessary resources to accomplish the District’s mission and goals,” General Manager Steve Perez said.
The 2021-2022 fiscal year budget shows revenues of nearly $9.8 million, an increase of 12.5% over the prior year, and operating expenses of nearly $10.4 million, up 9.6%.
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic added challenges to managing the District and its finances over the past year.
“One of the most recent and challenging decisions this Board has had to make was adopting the new rate study,” District accountant Brad Rockabrand said. “Asking the community to step up and pay their fair share during this time was a difficult, but necessary, action.”
Even with the added revenues, the operating budget for the coming fiscal year shows a deficit of more than $634,000.
The deficit was by design, Rockabrand said, intended to smooth the impact of the increased rates from the rate study while still allowing the district to work to replenish reserve funds.
The approved budget also includes a separate Capital Budget of $2.5 million, with $1.5 million designated for water projects and $1 million for sewer projects.
The projects included in the Capital Budget were prioritized, with some deemed infeasible to complete in a single year due to costs. Once tallied, the prioritized projects totaled $1.107 million for the water fund and $1.092 for sewer.
Board Vice President Byron Glennan noted the budget includes line items for parks and parks maintenance, two functions no longer in use in the District.
These items are necessary to track payments for internal loans to the parks functions made in 2015. In 2021-2022, these amount to a little more than $113,000 together.
“We’re still in the process of paying that back,” he said.
Rockabrand noted that the budget is “a flexible document” and is “based on the best, most current economic information available at the date of adoption.”
However, circumstances may change during the course of the fiscal year that will require adjustments to be made to the original budget, he said.