By Orlando Business Journal

The Kissimmee Utility Authority board of directors on Wednesday approved a $221 million operating and capital budget for fiscal year 2011 after a public hearing.

The approved budget is $39 million, or 15 percent, lower than the 2010 budget and marks the second consecutive year the utility has made major cuts to avoid a base rate increase for customers.

To achieve these savings, KUAâ¿¿s 2011 budget includes a reduced number of capital projects, the elimination of positions, and the continued freeze of cost of living and annual performance increases for utility employees. The utility also reduced the amount of sponsorship dollars it distributes to community organizations.

Other highlights of the 2011 budget include:

â¿¢ $127 million for fuel and purchased power

â¿¢ $9 million for construction and capital expenditures, the majority of which are related to growth and reliability enhancements

â¿¢ $15 million for transfers to the city of Kissimmee and Osceola County for electric sales and taxes

â¿¢ A decrease of one and a half positions, reducing KUAâ¿¿s total employee base to 306.5 with an associated payroll of $27 million

â¿¢ Expected customer growth of 1.6 percent

â¿¢ Forecasted energy sales increase of 1.0 percent

⿿It was a difficult year for budgeting, but we are pleased to have found ways to avoid raising rates while preserving system reliability and superior service for our customers,⿝ said KUA President and General Manager Jim Welsh.

The utilityâ¿¿s last base rate increase was July 2005.

The new budget takes effect Oct. 1.

Founded in 1901, Kissimmee Utility Authority is Floridaâ¿¿s sixth-largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 62,000 customers in Osceola County.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010