South San Joaquin Irrigation District is a rarity among California government agencies.

It is debt free after the board approved full payment of the district’s $11 million in unfunded pension liabilities. The district does not currently have outstanding bonds.

“The board made a decision to ensure the ongoing reliability of its operations,” noted SSJID Board President Robert Holmes. “Our cash position and our strong financial reserves allow the district year-to-year flexibility to weather (drought-related) fluctuation.”

The SSJID board passed its 2022 budget featuring $37.7 million for operating expenses and $7.3 million for capital expenditures on Nov. 23.

The budget was underscored by an expectation of continuing drought and inflationary cost increases, resulting in a projected deficit of approximately $5.8 million.

Expecting continuing drought, SSJID’s Tri-Dam Project revenues are anticipated to be $8 million, which represents approximately $2 million less than historical average, and $7.8 million less than the 2020 year. The Tri-Dam Project is a series of reservoirs and hydropower projects owned and operated in partnership with Oakdale Irrigation District.

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