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BREAKING NEWS

Audit shows loss for BE utilities

By Staff | Jul 6, 2009

Paul Leland

The annual audit report for Blue Earth Light and Water was not as rosy as it has been in the past.

In fact, for the first time, the audit showed a loss for the year.

Although the electric fund still showed a positive net income, a loss on the water side meant the total balance for the public utility was in the red by just over $14,000 for 2008.

Auditor Jerome Gerdts of the firm of Roessler, Nuss and Co., Fairmont, was not overly concerned.

“It is not unusual,” he says. “Most cities, big and small, have good reports on the electric side, and often lose money on water and sewer.”

His report showed a net income of $45,044 on the electric side, down from $141,000 the year before.

But the water department showed a loss of $59,326. In 2007, there had been a positive net of $77,115.

Gerdts says although there are two departments, they are treated as one fund. When combined, they show a $14,282 loss.

Light and Water general manager Paul Leland says it was a series of small items that resulted in the loss, not just one large one.

He told the Light and Water board, and the city council, that both electric and water usage is down in the city.

“Our power costs have gone up by 28 percent,” he reported at the audit meeting last Monday night. “Transmission costs have also risen by 37 percent over the past two years.”

He said the water department dug a record number of holes the last year, fixing breaks or installing new lines.

For more of this story, see this week’s Register.