The Bryan City Council unanimously approved a budget amendment Tuesday that increases the budget expenditures for the 2021 fiscal year by $221 million, much of it attributable to the February winter storm.
Will Smith, chief financial officer for the city, said $202 million of the additional expenditures stemmed from increased fuel costs by Bryan, Texas Utilities during the winter storm that crippled the state in February. According to a presentation given to the council during the workshop portion of its meeting, $200 million were for BTU’s city services and $2 million were in its rural services.
The county does not make budget amendments for revenues, he said Tuesday, but there was $180 million in offsetting revenue to counter BTU’s increased costs. The net cost to BTU during the storm is a net negative $26.7 million, which was able to be absorbed without affecting customer rates.
The net cost of $26.7 million was split between $17 million to the city electric system and $9.7 million to the rural system, Smith said.
Gary Miller, general manager of BTU, said the revenue came from retail and wholesale electricity sales and selling ancillary services to ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. According to ERCOT, ancillary services support the transmission of energy.
“The ancillary services market, just like all the other markets that you heard about, was extremely expensive during this timeframe, and we were selling more ancillary services than we needed,” Miller said “… All of those things together make the $180 million that we were able to recoup during the event.”
Miller said BTU’s plants ran consistently throughout the event, avoiding the cause of many problems throughout the state of units going offline.
“Ours did not; we prepared very well, we believe, and because our generating units did not trip offline, we were able to do the things that I just described,” Miller said.
Other items included in the $221,152,000 budget amendment were first-aid supplies and coronavirus relief community contributions in the Bryan Fire Department budget, management fees at the Palace and Queen Theaters and rollover funds for drainage and solid waste work.
In a later meeting Tuesday night, the council approved BTU Rural Electric System Revenue Bonds and BTU City Electric System Revenue Bonds that will fund $21.76 million and $73.60 million in capital projects, respectively.
Miller said about half of the funds for the rural bonds will go toward new development.
The city funds will be used for BTU’s transmission system projects and its administration building.
Also at its Tuesday meeting, the Bryan City Council unanimously approved a tax rate of $0.629000 per $100 valuation for the taxable year 2021. The adopted tax rate is the same as the prior year and will support the $442 million budget adopted earlier in the month.
While the tax rate is unchanged, it will bring in 2.75% more revenue for the city due to increased property values.
The adopted fiscal year 2022 budget tax rate will support a $27.5 million – or 6.6% increase – from last year’s budget.