Sterling: The 2013 draft budget is out, staff recommends spending down excess revenues in the water fund

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate (David Marinez):

Water fund

Some major changes are coming to the water fund, as the city weans off major water line expenditures and increases its water plant expenditures.

Total expenditures for water line construction and improvements will drop from $16.5 million in 2011 and $14.3 million in 2012 to only $2.65 million in $2013.

The biggest changes in that budget come from a combined $786,000 drop in consultant fees and legal expenses. The city paid $236,000 this year for water consultants during construction — $25,000 in 2013 — and $575,000 in water court issues.

Kiolbasa said the city, like farms or other water users, has to protect its rights to use water for 15 to 20 years into the future. The court fees this year reflect an effort to secure the city’s rights to water until 2035.

On the other side, expenditures on the water plant will increase from $198,000 in 2012 to about $4.5 million in 2013, as almost every budget expenditure item will either be new or greatly increased for the coming year.

All things considered, the total water fund equity will decrease from about $10.6 million in 2012 to about $8.9 million next year.

More infrastructure coverage here and here.

Winter forecast news: ‘It’s vexing … the models are just not up to the task’ — Klaus Wolter

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

A somewhat murky El Niño outlook is clouding the picture, with sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific ranging above average, but cooling down from just a month ago. “It’s vexing … the models are just not up to the task,” Wolter said. Overall, he said he’s “guardedly optimistic” that Colorado will see at least close to an average snowfall year, which would would be critical to maintaining water supplies in the state’s depleted reservoirs.

Based on the current pattern and comparison with analogous situations in previous years, Wolter said he wouldn’t be completely surprised to see some decent moisture in October, though conditions look dry through the first half of the month…

Wolter said he’s not ready to write off this year’s El Niño completely yet, even though the Climate Prediction Center said in its Oct. 4 update that the trends toward El Niño slowed in September. Overall, Pacific basin conditions reflect borderline neutral conditions.