Greenville Utilities Commission received a clean audit report for fiscal year 2019-20, according to the CPA who worked on the audit.
April Adams, a partner with Cherry Bekaert, the firm that conducts the audits for GUC and the City of Greenville, said the utility has good internal controls, no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in GUC’s bookkeeping.
“Having to do the audit completely remotely didn’t slow us down a bit,” Adams reported to the utility’s Board of Commissioners during their monthly meeting on Thursday.
Revenues and expenditures kept up with the budget but in a lot of categories they were not spot on, Adams said. It’s to be expected given the unexpected circumstances that can affect the amount of electricity and natural gas the commission purchases.
GUC budgeted an expected $173.9 million in electric revenues for the fiscal year that ran through July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020.
It actually earned $172.5 million. It’s expenditures were $171.9 million.
In natural gas it budgeted revenues of $32.4 million but actually earned $32.1 million. It spent $29.5 million.
In water, GUC budgeted $23.5 million in revenues but brought in slightly more revenue $23.7 million. It spent $18 million.
In sewer GUC budgeted $24.8 million in revenue but brought in $24.2 million. It spent $21.1 million.
The utility had planned to increase its residential water rate by $2.50 in the 2020-21 fiscal year but changed plans because of the impact COVID-19 was having on household budgets.
It was left with a net position of $1.4 million in electric, $4.6 million in water, $6.8 million in sewer and $1.6 million in natural gas.
The commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution asking the Greenville City Council to allow the utility to initiate condemnation actions to acquire easements for the N.C. 33 natural gas main extension.
GUC attorney Phil Dixon said GUC was asked to provide natural gas service to developing residential areas along N.C. 33 East. However, the state transportation department has plans to widen the highway from Black Jack-Simpson Road to Mobley’s Bridge Road.
To avoid future relocation costs, GUC wanted its own easements for installing the line instead of putting them in the transportation department’s right-of-way.
Dixon said GUC needed easements for eight parcels along N.C. 33. Five parcel owners agreed but the owners of three parcels aren’t cooperating.
Two parcels are owned by RB4 Holdings, whose owner is local businessman Rich Balot, and the other parcel is owned by J.R. Atwell Sr.
GUC hasn’t been able to negotiate agreements for the easement, Dixon said.
An easement allows GUC to install pipe but the land still belongs to the property owner.
“We don’t like to condemn property but for the common good that is sometimes the only course you have,” Dixon said.
The board also unanimously approved abandoning a 15-foot wide easement it has on property near L.T. Hardee Road because a multi-family housing development is under development there.
Dixon said a new easement will be given to the city.