The board recently held a “state of the district” address. According to board chairman, Jerry Miller, the district’s fiscal status made a positive swing last year, thanks in part to a combination of cutting expenses and a rate increase. It’s a notable shift for a municipal service that not too long ago was borrowing money to continue operating expenses.
Even as its current situation improves, the district is also keeping its eye on the future. Water loss is down by 24 percent. Tank maintenance contracts are being reconsidered. Depreciation accounts are being funded, which will lessen the money needed for future purchases. Long-range maintenance plans designed to reduce future costs are being explored. Not only is the current stability improving, but so is the district’s chance for continuing operations with fewer bumps in the road.
There are still obstacles to overcome. The district still has sizable chunks of debt, but that’s not uncommon for any municipality or public works. Large scale projects take large bankrolls to implement. Those undertakings are usually planned with repayment projected out over long periods of time, sometimes even decades.
But, overall, the board’s communication among itself, employees and the public seems to be strong. Its efforts continue keep the district one of the state’s most affordable, while updating and maintaining services.
Hopefully, an upcoming audit of the district reflects that.
Public agencies and works are regularly audited to make sure public dollars are being spent efficiently and in the best interest of the consumer. In recent years, the district’s audits had pointed out areas of concern. Many of those– including personnel and procurement policies– have been put in place. The district has improved its record keeping, which is always a sticking point for auditors. As an auditor told me once, if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.
It’s a nice change of pace to report the positive growth.
Despite the impression news agencies tend to give off, we don’t really prefer reporting the down side of things. For the most part, we don’t look at the stories in terms of negative or positive– we try to just report what’s going on.
Hopefully, with the North Marshall Water District, we can continue to report growth.