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Auditor recommends village board approve budget amendments to reflect over-spending

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  One of the recommendations from the village’s auditor, Jennifer Homeyer of Bauman Associates out of Eau Claire, is the Colfax Village Board should approve budget amendments after spending more than the approved budget.

If the village board approves expenditures on a particular line item that are more than the approved budget, the village board should be approving budget amendments to avoid violating state law, Homeyer said.

Spending more than the budgeted amount but not approving a budget amendment to reflect the amount over the budget is a violation of Wisconsin statute 65.90(5), she said.

While there is no fine or penalty for violating that section of the statute, it would still be a good idea to approve budget amendments, Homeyer said.

Amending budget line items requires a two-thirds vote of the village board, she noted.

Homeyer said she recommended the village board review the budget and the actual amounts spent at the end of the year and amend the budget to keep the expenditures within the legally adopted amounts.

Some village boards and city councils receive a monthly or a quarterly report on the amount spent per line item in the budget as compared to the budgeted amount, she said.

For example, if a budgeted amount for a certain item was $10,000, but by March, the amount of the budget that had already been spent was $9,000, with nine months remaining in the year, the village board would know that section of the budget might be over-spent by the end of the year.

Homeyer also recommended providing an annual allowance for the Colfax Rescue Squad for uncollectible accounts based on an estimate of the write-offs expected to occur after reviewing write-off history or as a percent of revenue, whichever is more accurate.

No provision for uncollectible accounts was provided at the end of the year for the Colfax Rescue Squad, resulting in a significant overstatement of the accounts receivable and the net income of the rescue squad, she said.

The rescue squad’s receivables and related billings are kept in separate billing software not integrated with the village’s general ledger.

The Colfax Rescue Squad’s accounting has, however, improved significantly over the past few years, Homeyer said.

Numbers

Here are some of the numbers included in the 52-page audit report for Colfax:

• The general fund balance of unassigned and undesignated funds on December 31, 2017, was $679,734.

• The total restricted fund balance, which means the amount can only be spent on the item for which it is restricted, was $350,112 and included $410 for future Community Development Block Grant program expenditures; $28,500 for perpetual care of Evergreen Cemetery; $18,192 for future library operations; $77,912 for future improvements for the village hall; $175,877 for future Tax Increment District 3 expenditures; $10,213 for future TIF 4 expenditures; $39,008 for debt service expenditures.

• The total assigned fund balance was $630,321 and included $177, 244 for future major equipment replacements; $55,664 for future rescue squad operations; $2,363 for the spreading garden, fencing and improvements to the cemetery; $50,085 for library operations; $249,878 for street improvements; $3,230 for holiday decorations; $10,000 for economic development; $81,877 for future improvements to the village hall. 

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