The Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors voted at its Monday, Jan. 24 regular meeting to approve an operating budget for 2011 and to approve the strategic issues proposed in December 2010.
The approved 2011 budget calls for a 3 percent reduction in controllable costs, and balances cost reductions with providing funds that will keep safety, system reliability and member service at high levels.
"Everyone involved in developing and approving this budget — the Board, executive management and all employees — was very conscientious of reducing controllable costs, while maintaining our focus on reliability and service," Acting Chief Executive Officer Luis A. Garcia said.
The budget includes $476.5 million projected for operating expenses, of which $98.7 million are controllable expenses. These controllable costs amount to $413 per meter, down from $444 in 2010 and $460 in 2009.
The Board also approved a budget of $107.8 million for capital improvements in the transmission, substation, distribution and general plant categories.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the Board approved strategic issues it will use to guide the future direction for the Cooperative. The Board reviewed and considered member feedback before approving the strategic direction.
Board President and District 6 Director Larry Landaker reported that the Board will meet Saturday, Jan. 29, to interview candidates for the Cooperative’s CEO position. The Board’s Executive Search Committee has been working to identify CEO candidates since last August.
Members addressing the Board commented about the budget, strategic issues, member assistance funds and conflicts of interest, and also commended the Board for responding to an open records request and for the impact statement PEC filed in the case of the State of Texas versus Bennie Fuelberg.
In other business, the Board also:
• Submitted 2011 individual conflict-of-interest certification and disclosure forms.
• Voted to review the bylaws-defined director qualification provision that addresses being an employee or a director of a wholesale power supplier.
• Authorized the audit committee chair to execute engagement letters with external auditors.
• Approved payment of $127,809 in dues for PEC’s membership in Texas Electric Cooperatives.
The next regular Board meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 21 at PEC’s E. Babe Smith Headquarters Building in Johnson City.