Revenues Down 22% From Watertown's Hydroelectric Plant
It was bad news this summer for boaters on the St. Lawrence River, bad news this fall for people living along Lake Ontario with shore wells and now it's bad news this winter for the city of Watertown this winter.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bad news.
The city usually sells excess electricity generated from the hydroelectric plant on the Black River, but this year, the city is buying power instead.
"Production at the plant has been down," said city comptroller James Mills.
"We've had a dry summer, probably a not very heavy winter," he said. "We have bought power for the first six months of our fiscal year."
It's rare for the city to buy power at all during the fall, winter and spring.
Because the city hasn't had extra power to sell, the revenue usually made from selling power at this point in the fiscal year is down $324,000 from last year.
It's projected to be down $900,000 at the end of the fiscal year.
That's a big budget hole for the city.
"Monitoring different revenue streams and different expenses is something we do all year," Mayor Jeff Graham said.
"As far as the hydroelectric revenue per se, some of that's a function of weather and we can't control that," he said. "We just hope it rains a little more."
Mills says the council will have to make budget cuts to make up the shortfall.