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Water district, authority approve new budgets

The valley’s wholesale water supplier and its largest water utility have adopted spending plans for the coming fiscal year that seem to mirror the local economy at large — mostly flat but showing signs of growth.

Under a final budget approved Monday, the Las Vegas Valley Water District expects to cut its spending by about $4.2 million while adding about $4 million to its reserve fund during the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority, which supplies water to the district and other utilities, plans to spend $45.1 million less, mostly due to a temporary lull in construction expenditures.

The authority’s budget, approved by its board last week, calls for $454.1 million in spending, down from $499.2 million in the current budget.

More than 60 percent of the authority’s spending will go to debt payments ($150.7 million) and new construction ($127.7 million) as the agency continues work on a new $800 million intake to draw water from the bottom of Lake Mead.

The water district’s new $432.4 spending plan, down from the current budget of $436.6 million, anticipates no real increase in how much water the utility delivers or how many customers it serves. Both have remained flat since the economic downturn hit in 2008, and “we expect that trend to continue,” said Pat Mulroy, who serves as general manager for both the district and the authority.

Overall, she said, the utility is in better shape now than a year ago, when only $100,000 was left for the reserve fund. The new budget includes $4.1 million for the reserve fund.

“The water district is financially healthy,” Mulroy said during Monday’s final budget hearing. “We don’t have to have any discussions over rates and charges.”

The Clark County Commission serves as the board of trustees for the water district. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is governed by a board that includes county commissioners and city council members from Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City.

Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.

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