JWC deficits total $290K since 2011

JENKINSVILLE – Jenkinsville Water Company has operated with a deficit every year since 2012, with revenue shortages totaling nearly $236,000 in the past two years alone, according to a review of its federal tax returns.

On its Federal 990 tax forms, which non-profits like the water company must file and are public record, the JWC reported deficits in each of the past five years.  JWC reported a slight surplus of $1,442 in 2011, tax records show.

In 2016, the water company reported a deficit of $107,135. The deficit was even higher in 2015 at $128,783, tax records show.

The fiscal data shines a light on what’s otherwise been a murky subject for the JWC, which routinely shields financial data from public view.

At its monthly meeting Monday, the board reviewed its financial report and profit and loss statements in open session, but didn’t discuss them.

Greg Ginyard, the water company’s president, wouldn’t discuss finances when asked about them after the meeting.

Jill Miller, executive director of the S.C. Rural Water Association, a support organization for the state’s 400-plus water companies, couldn’t be reached for comment.

A representative of the group declined to comment about financial data, but noted the JWC has previously been a member of the rural water association, though it currently isn’t one.

The representative also said JWC occasionally attends association events, most recently in December 2017.

Of the $551,013 the JWC spent in 2016, the largest expense was for salaries and wages, accounting for $102,336, or about 18.5 percent, according to tax returns.

Depreciation, depletion and amortization accounted for $93,217, followed by purchase of water at $88,465, tax records show.

Travel expenses, an issue that’s arisen in past JWC meetings, have also been recurring line items in the water company’s tax returns.

Since 2012, the water company has spent more than $67,483 on travel, including $12,687 in 2013 and $17,955 in 2015.

The $14,880 reported in 2016 tax records is at odds with a figure of $8,089 announced during the water company’s 2017 annual meeting.

At the time, JWC accountant Yvette Jones attributed the travel costs to routine trips.

“That’s mileage for driving to the law firm, to the bank to make deposits and things like that,” Jones said at the time.

Also at that meeting, Ginyard said travel expenses covered trips to meetings.

A review of travel expenses for other S.C. water companies of comparable size or larger found most reported minimal to travel expenses. Many reported none at all.

In 2016, the Marlboro Water Company reported $5,178 in travel expenses. Its annual revenue was $1.6 million, more than three times that of Jenkinsville Water Company.

Browns Creek Water Company in Union County reported $1,443, while Oswego Rural Water Company in Sumter County spent $990 on travel, according to 2016 tax records.

Water companies in Greenville, Orangeburg, Pickens, Marion and Chesterfield counties didn’t report any travel expenses in 2016, tax records show.

The anomaly was High Hills Rural Water Company in Sumter County. It reported $60,053 in travel expenses, with overall annual expenses totaling $2.28 million.