For the last Saturday of the month, we tend to focus on numbers, and there are some positive ones to share as we wind down the 10th month of 2013, with 59 days until Christmas.
To provider a little bigger/longer sense of the situation, MID staff reported that the reservoir level is expected to be at 731 feet elevation as of this coming week. It’s low, but it has been that low 10 times in the past 40 years.
The MID budget is in good shape, and it appears there will not be an electrical rate increase next year. But the board won’t talk about it until mid-December, when the three new directors who win in the Nov. 5 election are seated.
To recap previous rate increases: No rate increases from 1996 to 2000, followed by significant increases every year since, ranging from 10 percent in 2001, 2003 and 2008, to only 2 percent in 2007. For 2013, the rate actually dropped 1 percent because green energy cost less than expected.
The MID board has to hold public hearings but otherwise the electrical customers get no say in what happens to their bills. Irrigation customers, on the other hand, have the opportunity to submit a protest vote. You’ll remember that very few farmers objected to a proposed 10 percent increase in water rates for the season just ended, but the MID board – in a sign of ongoing dysfunction – didn’t raise the rate anyway.