By Marcy Stamper

The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD) commissioners will start looking at the utility’s $61.7 million budget for 2014 next week.

The proposed budget assumes $50 million in revenues and $44 million in expenditures, including $1.7 million of line replacements and extensions and $250,000 to modify the Twisp substation. Another $3.7 million will go toward paying off debt.

The PUD has budgeted $3 million for the Methow transmission line, including $703,000 for construction, $500,000 for easements, and $825,000 for the substation at Gold Creek. Another $5.4 million is allocated for Enloe Dam.

The cost of buying power on the wholesale market remains the PUD’s largest operating expense, but it has dropped slightly from last year. Retail sales of electricity increased by $3.6 million, according to the budget highlights.

The utility plans to transfer $3 million less from its reserve account than it did last year. Wage increases are restricted to those in the current union contract and the salaries of three additional employees.

The commissioners will begin reviewing the proposed budget at their meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 24) at 12:30 p.m. at their Okanogan headquarters, and will schedule workshops for more in-depth review. They will hold several workshops and meetings before the budget is approved at the end of the year.

For more information, contact the PUD at (509) 422-3310.