Lamar Utilities Board Approves 2014 Budget, Cook Leaves for City Council


The Lamar Utilities Board approved the budget for 2014 for Lamar Light and Power operations, tabled from their October 15 meeting.  One portion of the budget focuses on the Lamar Repowering Project.  Those expenses are funded through ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority.  The other portion determines the revenue requirements needed from electric retail rates consisting of transmission and distribution activities.  As the coal fired power plant is offline, power is sold to member communities and customers by ARPA.  There were some changes to the budget from the October 15 meeting, mainly for employee insurance coverage, a change brought about from an agreement authorized by the Lamar City Council.  The new budget also reflects a 4% across the board employee wage increase.  Revenues are estimated in excess of $13.6 million with $12.7 from retail electric sales and the balance from wind turbine production and gas gathering fees.  Operating expenses for 2014 are estimated at almost $11.6 million which includes $9.2 million for power supply.

As part of their annual housekeeping duties, board members voted to write off $49,978.73 in uncollectable accounts.  The budget for write offs is $50,000.  The amount constitutes 0.35% of revenues for 2012.  A collection agency handles the accounts, both residential and commercial.  Cook asked if any of those delinquent businesses are still open, but was informed they had ceased operation.  The write offs are up $8,000 over last year.  On a similar note, the City of Lamar write offs for the Water/Sewer Fund for 2012 was $13,957.18, compared to $10,165.20 for 2011.  Total uncollected bills for the Sanitation Fund for 2012 was $9,522.36, compared to $6,448.70 for 2011.

The board recognized Ron Cook on his final day as a member.  Cook, who served for several months, is resigning to serve on the Lamar City Council.  Under city ordinances, he cannot occupy both positions and following the November General Election, he will take a seat on the council, replacing Keith Nidey in a non-contested election.  Mayor Roger Stagner serves as city liaison as a utilities board member, but cannot vote on any issue.  Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, said an application to the board from Rick Beard will be forwarded to the city council for their approval.  The next Lamar Utility Board meeting will be Tuesday, November 12.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyEnergyFeaturedLamarUtilities


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