After staring at an $8-million deficit this summer, the San Juan Capistrano Utilities Department is slowly turning things around, officials said Tuesday.
First quarter revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 met -- and in some cases surpassed -- projections.
With themore than it did a year ago, and revenue outpacing expenses, city finance officer Cindy Russell said the department is "on track."
Utilities Commissioner Ray Miller called the first-quarter financial report "the first positive news we've had in three years."
In June, commissioners learned their water budgets were $8.2 million in the red. So Russell mapped out a budget based on very conservative projections, a tack that seems to be working to the department's advantage.
. That scenario is based on the city's groundwater recovery plant pumping 4,725 acre feet a year.
Production so far this fiscal year is 1,413 acre feet, according to a report released Tuesday by the city manager's office.
Through Sept. 30, the groundwater recovery plant fund raked in $1.68 million from commodity usage charges and grants from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Just under $4.1 million was collected in its water enterprise fund.
Expenses in each account totaled $3.1 million and $786,502, respectively.
Water enterprise operations costs, including those of the groundwater recovery plant and the cost of imported water, will be about $12.6 million this year (not including debt payments). Sewer enterprise costs run about $3 million. Enterprise operational costs are budgeted at $15.6 million.
Administrative costs account for nearly 9 percent of the total Utilities Department budget, or $1.4 million. Those costs will be reviewed by the Utilities Commission at its next meeting.