Breaking News

BEC budget talks continue

By: 
Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, Beartooth Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BEC) board met to continue budget talks. There will be one more meeting on the budget next month, December 14, before it is presented for final approval possibly at the January 9 meeting.
Items being discussed include deployment of a two way automated communication system and digital meter replacement.
They hope to start and complete the $130,000 Pine Crest construction work plan in 2017.
The project is located east of Columbus and north of the Interstate and involves 60-70 homes. One employee explained, “BEC keeps adding load and allowing member hookups.” This increases the risk on existing cable voltage of power failure.
The project and $130,000 price tag may have to be carried over if not completed this year. That figure is not currently in the 2018 budget. Trustee Arleen Boyd said, “We can’t not hook them up.”
The project has been planned for 15 years but four easements had to be obtained. Three are completed and it is hoped that the fourth will be signed this month.
It appears the solution is to bring in another feed so fewer homes will be on one cable. Later, they can replace the other cable.
It was discussed whether to keep the $500,000 cash reserve. BEC accountant Brad Prophet said that, “$300-400,000 is comfortable.” Some comments advised keeping it at $500,000, one reason being in case of a major storm and another, to give more fluidity in financing.
The board discussed budgeting for board admin. (MECA state meetings, education, etc.) up $15,000, board admin (meetings) up $25,000 and legal, up $10,000. Next public budget meeting before finalization: Dec. 14.

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