August 21, 2014

Utility board, council discuss electric budget

Corbin H. Crable
chcrable@gardnernews.com

Gardner Energy is poised for a budget surplus for fiscal year 2010, and 2011 looks financially promising as well, members of the Electric Utility Board said June 14.

The EUB participated in a joint meeting with the Gardner City Council and the Planning Commission the evening of June 14 at City Hall, with Electric Director Bill Krawczyk providing an optimistic financial outlook for the coming year.

Gardner Energy’s total operating revenues for 2010 were placed at $13.8 million; the board has estimated total expenditures at $13.3 million, creating a budget surplus of $486,000. For the year to date, total operating revenues stand at $4.3 million, with total expenditures at $3.8 million, creating a surplus of more than $419,000.

Fiscal year 2011 also likely will see a budget surplus, Krawczyk said, with total operating revenues projected to be $14.3 million and total expenditures at $14.1 million, creating a surplus of roughly $159,000.

Gardner Energy has maintained 14 full-time employees this year and expects to add one position in generation and one position in distribution for 2011.

The Gardner City Council itself will discuss its 2011 budget beginning with a work session on June 28.

EUB Chairman Randy Tedford also told the governing bodies that Gardner Energy still plans to throw its proverbial hat in the ring to provide service to the intermodal facility, although he acknowledged GE would face a significant challenger in Kansas City Power and Light.

“It may be a long shot, but we’re going to work at it,” he said. “We’re going to submit a proposal to service the intermodal.”
Krawczyk said that on the whole, however, he was optimistic about GE’s role in the intermodal, saying board members have met with BNSF representatives several times in the past few months.

“We need more commercial customers, and we need more commercial customers who operate longer than eight to 10 hours a day,” he said.

Absent from the meeting was new EUB member Eric Schultz, who was sworn in as a mayoral appointee only last week. Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta appointed Schultz to serve the remainder of Brian Broxterman’s term on the board. Broxterman, in turn, was appointed to the council last month.
An area of concern surrounding Schultz’s appointment, voiced by at least one member of the council, focuses on Schultz’s prior record of attending meetings when he first served on the council in 2008.

Schultz was one of eight candidates vying for the council seat ultimately granted to Broxterman, but he withdrew his name from the pool in April, citing increased time commitments from a new job as his reason.

Schultz told council members last week that his schedule was now more manageable, and that he did not foresee attendance problems being an issue.

“I have confidence that I have better control of my schedule,” Schultz told council members.

In other business, the council:

• heard a presentation on the city’s comprehensive plan. The Planning Commission, as it does each year, will review and approve the community development portion of the plan. One of the issues the commission will examine includes changing land use as it relates to the Highway 56 Corridor Study.

• heard a presentation on the corridor study from Jeff McKerrow of TranSystems Corp., which is working with the Kansas Department of Transportation on the project. McKerrow told the governing bodies that the study, which examines a 22-mile stretch of the highway and its projected traffic patterns and land use for the next three decades, will be completed by the end of the summer. At the conclusion of the study, an interlocal agreement must be signed between multiple entities, including KDOT, Douglas and Johnson counties, and the cities of Baldwin, Gardner and Edgerton. That agreement, McKerrow said, will establish a corridor advisory committee, which will meet and discuss the evolution of the corridor as traffic patterns shift.

The council will next meet for its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 21, at City Hall, 120 E. Main St.

On the Web:
City of Gardner: www.gardnerkansas.gov

Comments

  1. Chris Morrow says:

    A mere one week after Eric Schultz is sworn in as a member of the Electric Utility Board he has missed the very first meeting in which his attendance was expected.
    As a concerned citizen I expect Mr. Schultz to make a public statement explaining this absence. I also call for him to make a publicly stated commitment to attend his scheduled meetings for the Electirc Utility Board.
    I also call on Mayor Drovetta to make a similar public statement to monitor Mr. Schulz’s attendance and make a commitment to take appropriate action when necessary.
    If Mr. Schultz’s attendance had not previously been an issue in his appointed positions with the City, and if his public statements from the Spring 2009 election and his letter to Mayor Drovetta in April of this year had not indicated a potential for probelmes with attendance, perhaps this wouldn’t be a big deal.

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