Both the power and water discounts to Rolla Municipal Utilities rates, designed to lower charges to customers by more than $1 million, will remain in place at least another fiscal year if the Board of Public Works agrees.

Both the power and water discounts to Rolla Municipal Utilities rates, designed to lower charges to customers by more than $1 million, will remain in place at least another fiscal year if the Board of Public Works agrees.
“I recommend we continue both power cost and water cost adjustments,” RMU General Manager Rodney Bourne told the board Tuesday afternoon when he presented the preliminary budget  with some revisions.
“From a financial position perspective, we’re doing well, even with the discounts in place.”
Operating balances are a little over $8 million, he said, so “it makes sense” to continue with the 6 percent discount in the electric rate and 4 percent discount in the water rate.
Last month in early budget discussion, Bourne had said he likely would make that recommendation. He repeated that to the Rolla City Council earlier this month when he made his quarterly report.
So, with this official recommendation and barring any unforeseen disaster, it looks like the rate relief that was built to save ratepayers nearly $1.4 million will continue to save money as the utilities work to lower the reserves.
The Fiscal 2018 budget forecasts total operating revenues of $31,116,102 and total operating expenses of $31,499,232 for an operating loss of $353,130. Non-operating revenue of $1,228,400 will bring net income to $875,270, about the same as what is projected to be the fiscal 2017 ending income of $873,944.
Bourne’s highlights in the discussion were a discussion of changes in depreciation figuring, changes occurring due to water meter replacement, increased spending on poles, addition of Service Department equipment storage, software expense.
He noted the utilities will transfer $1,454,393 to the city, which is the PILOT, payment in lieu of taxes.
The rate relief, or discount system, adopted last year works this way: Water rates remained at $2.90 per 1,000 gallons used per month, but the water cost adjustment for residential service, commercial service, power service and industrial service customers was 11.6 cents per 1,000 gallons.
Missouri University of Science and Technology’s main campus, which pays $2.80 per 1,000 gallons per month, on 6-inch members only, received an adjustment of 11.2 cents per thousand gallons.
Public Water Supply District No. 2 received an adjustment of 13.92 cents on its rate of $3.48 per 1,000 gallons.
Electrical rates were also discounted. Residential service and commercial service customers continue to be billed at 8.9 cents per kilowatt hour per month, but the discount of 0.53 cent, $0.0053 per kilowatt-hour, is noted on the bill.
Power service customers and industrial service customers also have discounts as do outdoor lighting customers for streets, parking lots and outdoor athletic facilities.
The residential electric service availability fee, raised from $17 to $20, last year will remain unchanged, as will the availability fee for the power, industrial and street lighting users. The water service availability fee was $9 to $125 per meter, depending on the meter size; that fee was not raised last year and will not be this year. .
Last year at this time, Bourne estimated the discounts would result in $1,362,698 not collected from electric ratepayers and $74,851 not collected from water ratepayers.
Net reduction, taking into consideration the lowering of rates and the service availability increase, was estimated to be $960,000 for electric ratepayers. Adding in the net savings for water rate reduction, Bourne said last year there would be slightly over $1 million in rate relief.
He has said this year that the utilities are on track with that estimate from last year.
Business/Finance Manager Dennis Roberts, in his financial report at the board meeting, said the utilities for the year to date (Oct. 1 through April 30)  have a net income of $411,428.79, down $311,368 from the same time period last year.
“If you were to add the PCA and WCA credit we are giving now, you would be up by approximately $500,000,” Roberts said of the power charge and water charge adjustments.
Board President Nick Barrack asked whether the discounts were enough, given the amount still in reserves. Roberts said he is concerned the discounts are too much. Bourne said they will keep an eye on the trends.
The meeting next month will begin at 5:30 p.m. instead of 4:30. That will be Tuesday, June 27, and the meeting will begin with a public hearing on the budget.