Bob Thaxton | Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:00 am

SCHERTZ — A budget totaling almost $5.1 million and wholesale water rates for the next fiscal year were approved Thursday by directors of the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corp. holding their monthly meeting in the Schertz City Council building.

The corporation’s budget for fiscal 2012, which starts Oct. 1, totals $5.096 million, up 21.5 percent from the current year’s budget of $4.19 million. 

The largest component of the SSLGC budget is the allocation for water leases which for fiscal 2012 totals more than $2.29 million, up 28.6 percent from $1.78 million budgeted for water leases in fiscal 2011. 

Another major item in the budget is for electric utility service which is budgeted for next year at $958,500, up almost 3.1 percent from this year’s allocation of $930,000. 

The cost of chemicals used to treat water transported by SSLGC is budgeted at $338,276, up 13.4 percent from $298,190 budgeted for chemicals in the current fiscal year. 

Salaries and benefits for the SSLGC workforce are budgeted at $431,357, up 4.6 percent from this year’s comparable budget items totaling $412,216. 

The board also approved wholesale water rates for fiscal 2012 as recommended by the SSLGC’s rate consultant, Dan Jackson, managing director of Economists.com. 

For the cities of Schertz and Seguin, the rate per 1,000 gallons will be $1.55, up 5.4 percent from the current year’s rate of $1.47. The rate of $1.55 includes 82 cents for operations and maintenance and 73 cents for water leases. 

Each of the two cities also will make annual debt service payments totaling almost $1.53 million. 

While the board’s action Thursday pertained only to the water rates for fiscal 2012, Jackson has recommended that the rate remain the same in fiscal 2013 and then decrease to $1.34 per 1,000 gallons in fiscal 2014 when SSLGC begins treating and transporting water for the San Antonio Water System. 

“The SAWS contract will provide a significant financial benefit to all of your customers,” Jackson told the board during his presentation at the June 23 meeting. 

Besides the rates for Schertz and Seguin, the board’s action also concerned rates for other wholesale customers. 

For the cities of Selma and Universal City, the rate per 1,000 gallons will be $2.09 in fiscal 2012. This includes 82 cents for operations and maintenance, 73 cents for water leases, 38 cents for transportation and 16 cents for distribution. 

For the city of Converse and Springs Hill Water Supply Corp., the wholesale rate for the next fiscal year will be $1.71 per 1,000 gallons.  

This includes 82 cents for operations and maintenance, 73 cents for water leases and 16 cents for distribution. 

In addition, Springs Hill WSC will make annual debt service payments totaling $200,000 and Converse will pay $133,333 for debt service. In other business Thursday, SSLGC General Manager Alan Cockerell reported that the corporation’s consulting engineer, John Winkler, had completed his preliminary engineering report for the SAWS expansion project. 

The project includes construction of a pipeline from the SAWS well field in Gonzales County to the SSLGC treatment plant near Nixon, expansion of the treatment plant and construction of a booster station and pipeline to transport water from SSLGC’s storage tank in Schertz to a SAWS tank in northeast Bexar County. 

“We had some of the (SAWS) board members come out, and we gave them a tour,” Cockerell said. “We’re still shooting for substantial completion (of the SAWS expansion project) by the end of September 2013.” 

Consultant Crockett Camp reported that the board of directors of the newly chartered Cibolo Valley Local Government Corp. will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 28, at the Schertz City Council building. 

Cockerell said the city of Garden Ridge has expressed interest in joining the new corporation. Founding members of the Cibolo Valley LGC are the cities of Cibolo, Converse, Schertz, Seguin and Selma.