LCUB begins issuing quarterly reports

A change in membership on the Lenoir City Utilities Board also brought along the first-ever quarterly reports from LCUB staff — a budget report from the first quarter of this fiscal year, which began in July.

New Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens thanked Suzan Williams, the LCUB accounting finance manager, for pulling out the numbers, at LCUB’s meeting Monday, Dec. 20.

Williams broke down the numbers by department, and compared the numbers to this year’s projections and last year’s actual first quarter numbers.

• In the electric department, revenues were up 22 percent from last year without a rate increase. Operations and expenses were up four percent. Net income was up 28 percent, and LCUB has used about 23 percent of its capital expense budget.

“Cash flow is very healthy ... we’re right where we need to be,” Williams said.

• In the water department, revenues were up 12.7 percent “mainly due to consumption.” Operations and expenses were up 15 percent. Net income was up 12 percent. LCUB has used about 25 percent of its capital expense budget.

• In the sewer department, revenues were up four percent, despite a 10 percent rate increase last year. Williams said that largely was due to the steep decline in development and its accompanying special assessment fees.

Operations and expenses were down 15 percent; Williams attributed this to the fact the water and wastewater departments share employees.

“So this is payroll,” Williams said — if employees were working largely in the water department last quarter, the expenses would show up there rather than in the sewer department.

Net income was up 34 percent and LCUB has used 12 percent of its capital expense budget.

• In the gas department, revenues were down nine percent.

“This is such a seasonal department — we don’t use much gas in the first quarter. ... But we purchased gas at the cheapest we have in a while,” Williams said.

Operations and expenses were up 3 percent and net income was down 20 percent.

“That’s not surprising. We haven’t sold much gas,” Williams said.

So far, LCUB has used five percent of its capital expense budget.

Williams emphasized that quarterly numbers could be misleading because water, electricity, wastewater and gas rates change so much season to season.

She also pointed out none of the capital expense budget numbers include LCUB’s debt, or projects paid for with loans.

“We are at a very critical time in financing for all our departments,” Williams said.

Williams said she and LCUB general manager Shannon Littleton hope to return to LCUB Board members with options for paying off or refinancing loans in January.

The Board also welcomed new members Jim Shields and Harry Wampler, who were elected to Lenoir City Council in November.