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08/12/2011 ~ The Utility Board held a public hearing for Keys Energy Services (KEYS) Fiscal Year (FY)* 2012 budget and five-year financial plan (2012 – 2016), during their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, August 10th. The FY 2012 budget for KEYS is $104.9-million. The budget takes in to account no base rate increase for KEYS’ customers during FY 12 and is scheduled to go back before the Board for a second public hearing and final approval on September 14th.

“With the understanding the Board requested a balanced budget with no rate increase, KEYS’ staff identified projects which could be postponed or eliminated without affecting reliability,” said Lynne Tejeda, KEYS’ General Manager & CEO. She went on to add that “staff is still in negotiations with Union employees with regard to wages for FY 12 as our three-year Union contract, which was ratified in 2010, includes a re-opener in the third year for wages.”

While KEYS’ Finance department has placed a place holder in the budget of a two-percent wage increase across the board, this was done for budgetary planning purposes and not indicative of what the final outcome will be. Union negotiations are scheduled to take place throughout the month of August. In FY 08 KEYS had 161 budgeted positions, in FY 12 KEYS is scheduled to have 139 budgeted positions. “KEYS’ payroll related expenses are on the decline because KEYS’ headcount has decreased by 22 through attrition in an effort to mitigate increases to customers,” added Tejeda.

In other business, the Board appointed Greg Daniels as the District Two (Key Haven to Big Coppitt Key) representative to KEYS’ Advisory Committee. Daniels is a Construction Coordinator with Comcast who resides in Big Coppitt.

In 1998 the Board approved the creation of a five-member Advisory Committee, which was designed to provide the Board and KEYS’ staff with community input on various issues related to KEYS including generation, distribution, finance, customer service, and new ventures.

The Committee promotes public access to information on KEYS facilities, services, policies, and programs concerning energy, and considers the future energy needs of the community. The Committee also assists the KEYS’ staff by suggesting and reviewing programs and services.

Community members represent five districts: Key West to Stock Island (District 1); Key Haven to Big Coppitt (District 2); Shark Key to Sugarloaf Key (District 3); Cudjoe Key to the Torch Keys (District 4); and Big Pine Key to Seven-Mile Bridge (District 5).

Daniels will join current Advisory Committee members: James Gilleran (District 1); Alan Toriello (District 3); Elsie Metcalf (District 4); and Sheriff Robert Peryam (District 5).

The regular meeting of the Utility Board took place at 5:00 p.m., August 10th, in the Louis Carbonell Board Room of the William Arnold Service Building, 1001 James Street, Key West.

*KEYS’ Fiscal Year runs from October 1st to September 30th.

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