By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Rescue Squad has a fund balance of $112,000 left over from previous years.
Out of the fund balance, $95,000 has been designated for a new ambulance, and $10,000 has been designated for equipment, said Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at a meeting of the Colfax Village Board’s public safety committee August 21.
Another $6,000 for the rescue squad remains undesignated, Ponto said.
In the past, any leftover funds were automatically rolled into the vehicle savings account, noted Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad.
The remaining $6,000 will be a rainy-day fund for the rescue squad.
If, for example, an ambulance requires an unexpected repair or some other unexpected expense arises, the rainy-day fund can be used to cover it, Ponto said.
Mark Halpin, village trustee and chair of the public safety committee, wondered if Knutson felt comfortable with $95,000 being designated for a new ambulance, since ambulances become more expensive every year.
A new ambulance is now almost $200,000, Knutson said.
So far, the rescue squad’s budget for 2013 is right where it should be, Ponto said.
A total of $434,988 was budgeted for this year, and to date, as of August 21, $400,265.22 has been spent.
Revenue for this year’s budget includes $18,546.99 in per capita fees from the Village of Colfax; $306,000 for public charges for services; $110,136 in per capita fees from the other municipalities served by the rescue squad; and $500 in interest income.
The Town of Colfax still owes $8,628.82 for per capita fees, but the township typically pays the amount owed in late summer, Knutson said.
Ponto noted that collections on unpaid ambulance charges have gone well this year.
Unpaid charges incurred by people living in Wisconsin have been turned over to the state’s Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP).
Ponto said that she has received telephone calls from people who did not pay their ambulance run charges and were upset that their tax refunds had been intercepted to pay their outstanding ambulance bills.
Knutson said that some people have stopped at the rescue squad building to express their displeasure about their tax refunds being intercepted to pay their ambulance bills.
Halpin wondered how many people are on the list.
Ponto said she did not have the list in front of her but estimated that about 200 people are on the TRIP list for not paying their ambulance bills.
This year, invoicing for ambulance runs was switched from the rescue squad office to the village administrator’s office.
Ponto pointed out that Knutson has enough work to do as director of the rescue squad without having to worry about invoicing and collecting the money.
As for expenses for the rescue squad, most of the accounts also are right where they should be, Ponto said.
The heating budget is currently at 114 percent of what was budgeted, but that is because the rescue squad did not prepay for liquid propane last year and has already prepaid for liquid propane for next winter, Knutson explained.
Both Ponto and Knutson noted that the rescue squad’s workers’ compensation insurance is high because of a claim several years ago.
The rescue squad is in the third year following the claim, and after three years, the workers’ comp insurance premium should decrease, Ponto said.
This year $26,000 was budgeted for workers’ compensation insurance.
In addition to Halpin as chair of the committee, village trustees Annie Schieber and Susan Olson serve on the public safety committee.