The elephant in the room


By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com



The elephant in the room when you discuss the financial success of the city is Fund 621, better known as the Sewer Fund. While all other funds are showing a positive balance, the city’s elephant, the Sewer Fund is carrying a deficit balance of $1.5 million.

To be exact, the deficit for 2016 was $1,514,609, up $2,479,807 from 2015’s deficit balance of $965,198.

The Daily Times made an inquiry of Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen as to what process is in place to attempt to get the fund in the black again.

“There is a rate increase expected in May 2017. The rates were amended in May of 2016. Staffing remains constant and there are no plans to add personnel,” Allen said. “The problem continues to be mandated activities by USEPA through the administrative order of consent (AOC). In addition, we continue to have sewer and manhole collapses and these are very expensive.”

The city’s General Fund for last year showed a positive balance of $1,548,549, up $1,102,923 over 2015’s balance of $445,626.

The Street Fund carried a balance of $306,614 and that is the amount it is over, since 2015 had a zero balance.

The Water Fund had a positive balance of $330,039, up $118,456 over the 2015 balance of $211,583.

There was a half-million dollar surplus in 2016’s Sanitation Fund. Specifically, that fund finished the year with $509,936. However, that was down $35,215 from the total in 2015 of $545,151.

The Insurance Fund finished 2016 with a positive total of $1,633,646, up $1,106,141 over the 2015 total of $527,505.

By Frank Lewis

flewis@civitasmedia.com

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.