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Colfax approves $2.08 million in budgets

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has approved a general fund budget for 2014 of $1.18 million, a rescue squad budget of $435,504, a sewer budget of $179,300 and a water budget of $289,998.

The Colfax Village Board held a budget hearing December 2 and approved the budgets at a special meeting following the budget hearing.

 Initially the proposed budget carried a deficit of $117,453.

The proposed expense budget for 2014 was $1.25 million, and the revenue budget was $1.14 million.

Village board members eventually agreed to remove $77,000 from designated fund expenditures for 2014.

Colfax Police Chief Pete Gehring suggested not allocating money in next year’s budget to put in the police squad car replacement fund.

The balance in the designated fund left over from purchasing the last police vehicle is $7,350, he noted.

The allocation for 2013 was $9,000.

The police vehicles are on a three-year rotation, so if the village board allocates money in 2015 and 2016, when it is time to replace the existing vehicle, the fund will have about $25,000, Police Chief Gehring said.

The most recent police squad vehicle cost a little over $22,000.

Streets

The village board also agreed to remove $50,000 from the street improvement budget, changing it from $150,000 to $100,000.

The designated fund balance for streets is currently $58,043.

The 2013 allocation for streets was $120,000, and nearly $62,000 of that was spent this year.

A $10,000 allocation for street equipment was removed from the budget as well.

The current balance of the designated street equipment fund is nearly $90,000.

An $8,000 allocation for park equipment also was removed from the budget.

The current designated fund balance for park equipment is $27,089.

Designated funds

Colfax currently has $453,227 in designated fund balances all together.

Designated funds represent amounts that have been put into designated accounts for a specific purpose but that the village board has not spent.

Designated funds can only be spent on the purpose for which they were designated, although the amounts can be transferred to other funds by a two-thirds majority vote of the village board.

Here are the amounts currently in the designated fund balances:

• $11,781 for clerk/treasurer equipment.

• $10,304 for a generator.

• $7,350 for a police squad vehicle.

• $1,854 for an animal shelter.

• $89,798 for street equipment.

• $21,326 for state Highway 40 engineering. (The money is left over from when Highway 40 was rebuilt a number of years ago.)

• $16,919 for a park mower.

• $27,089 for park equipment.

• $6,182 for park tables.

• $19,314 for park playground equipment.

• $3,091 for cemetery equipment.

• $1,363 for the cemetery.

• $10,306 for the library.

• $58,043 for street improvements.

• $3,229 for holiday decorations.

• $165,279 for village hall improvements.

Undesignated funds

In addition to the money in the designated fund accounts, Colfax also has more than $700,000 in undesignated funds.

As of December 31, 2012, Colfax had $790,000 in undesignated funds, reported Jackie Ponto, village clerk-treasurer.

The recommendation from the village’s financial consultant, Ehlers and Associates, is that the village keep a minimum of 25 percent of the budget in undesignated funds, which would be $294,329 on the 2014 budget of $1,177,319.

In other words, the undesignated fund balance had nearly $500,000 more than the recommended minimum as of a year ago.

The recommended maximum amount in the undesignated funds, according to Ehlers and Associates, is 50 percent of the budget, which would be $588,659 for the 2014 budget.

Using the total as of December 31 of $790,000, Colfax has little over $200,000 more in undesignated funds than the maximum recommended amount.

Rescue squad

Members of the Colfax Village Board considered removing $25,000 from the Colfax Rescue Squad Budget.

The $25,000 is money that is set aside every year and put into a designated fund so that money is available when it comes time to buy a new ambulance.

The ambulance fund currently has $85,000. A brand new ambulance costs about $200,000.

Ponto pointed out that if the village board removed $25,000 from the rescue squad budget for the ambulance fund, the village would only be able to claim a percentage of that amount in savings, based on the percentage of village residents as compared to the number of residents in other municipalities served by the rescue squad.

The savings for Colfax for removing $25,000 for the ambulance would only be about $3,000, Ponto said.

Colfax pays $18,352 in per capita fees for the rescue squad.

The other municipalities pay a total of $110,136.

The remainder of the rescue squad revenue budget comes from charges for ambulance runs that are paid by insurance, Medicare or are private pay.

Rick Johnson, village trustee, said that because the village owns the rescue squad, village taxpayers are responsible for covering the $435,395 budget.

Ponto pointed out that the village only pays the per capita fee of $18,352, just as the other municipalities pay a per capita fee.

Sewer budget

The sewer revenue budget for 2014 is $179,300, representing a $21,000 decrease over the 2013 revenue budget.

The expense budget for 2014 is $279,986.

The total deficit for the 2014 sewer budget is $100,686.

Increases in the expense budget include a $35,000 increase for a debt service payment; a $15,000 increase for interest payments; a $15,000 increase for phosphorus removal; a $10,000 increase in lagoon maintenance.

The budget for 2014 represents a deficit of $100,686.

The 2013 budget represents a loss of $37,288, although the projected budget to the end of 2013 shows a surplus of $43,074.

In 2012, the sewer budget had a surplus of $20,853.

Water budget

The water revenue budget for 2014 is $260,290, representing a $161,841 decrease over the 2013 budget.

The water expense budget for 2014 is $289,998, representing a $114,597 decrease over the 2013 budget.

The budget for 2014 carries a deficit of $29,708.

The projected year-end budget for 2013 indicates a deficit of $115,655.

The actual 2012 budget as of December 31, 2012, shows a surplus of $26,188.