Mayor takes aim at LP&L budget - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Mayor takes aim at LP&L budget

Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson

"A lot of bad information," that's what Mayor Glen Robertson claims the public has been given about the current LP&L crisis. He says LP&L is not on the verge of bankruptcy and that he has the numbers to prove it.   

This comes from a Facebook post Mayor Robertson put up Tuesday night listing LP&L's audited numbers from the city's comprehensive financial report. Robertson says this proves LP&L is not in massive trouble they've appeared to be in. 

"We need to be very careful about the facts we're putting out. That we are solvent, LP&L is in good shape financially and was not and is not on the verge of any dire financial straights," Robertson said. 

The numbers in financial report date back to 2003 and the numbers may surprise you. Robertson says LP&L has only been in the red for one of the past ten years. 

"LP&L did lose $3.2 million last year. But the previous years LP&L made money every year, in excess of $82 million over those nine years," Robertson said. 

Robertson's post went on to say that while LP&L did come up $3.2 million dollars short in 2012, they also gave $3.1 million dollars in raises.

"We did an extremely poor job as a council at looking at their budget and that is our job. We are the ones that have a fiduciary responsibility to the tax payers. We are the ones that need to be held accountable, not that LP&L board," Robertson said. 

Lubbock City Council members do have the final say in all of this. That's why Robertson believes fingers shouldn't be pointed at the LP&L board. 

"We have put so much weight on the consumers of this town, we better learn from this because I don't know if citizens can take any more," Robertson said. 

LP&L issued a statement Wednesday saying:

"LP&L's budget and annual audit are public documents.  Any member of the public is welcome and strongly encouraged to review them. Public budgets are nothing if not a transparent accounting of where public dollars are allocated. The LP&L budget is just a portion of the greater city budget available on the City of Lubbock website. The Chairman of the Electric Utility Board will present the LP&L Quarterly Update to the City Council tomorrow. The figures put forth by the Mayor, along with all figures associated with the budget, will be open for public discussion."

Thursday's City Council meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. and is open to the public.

Here's the complete text of the Mayor's post from Tuesday:

There has been a lot of bad information disseminated by everyone involved in the recent LP&L issues. The following are some basics facts everyone should know.

Year Profit/Loss Unrestricted Net Assets
2003 600,754 2,367,047
2004 1,713,871 6,754,909
2005 2,995,207 14,150,741
2006 16,430,903 32,140,521
2007 18,433,523 51,020,230
2008 13,288,628 62,540,263
2009 18,842,402 79,790,811
2010 8,966,130 87,412,798
2011 1,341,380 70,474,667
2012 (3,243,136) 50,697,382
Total 82,612,798 (3,243,136)

The unrestricted net asset is typically what staff tells the board is reserves. Not exactly accurate but it will normally give a close indication.

Before the rate increase was implemented, the reserves were budgeted to be 48.473,616 at the end of this fiscal year, which is 3,595,141 over required reserves.

In 2012 LP&L lost 3.243 million dollars. The same year they had over 3.1 million dollars in raises with only a net one added employee.

LPL also paid off approximately 5.9 million in debt in 2012 which directly reduced net asset value.

As of June 2013, LPL rates are now higher than the state average. The state average is comprised of mostly for-profit utilities.

All calculations made by the rate consultant used numbers provided by LPL staff and used October 1st 2013 as a start date to determine the calculated rate.

I was told in 2011 as a board member to expect an 8 to 10 million dollar loss and that we would need an immediate 10% rate hike to break even. We made 1.3 million in profit that year without an increase.

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