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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board’s parks committee is proposing a 2020 budget that is $7,150 less than 2019.
The capital outlay budget for 2019 is $10,000, while the capital outlay for 2020 is $3,000, according to the budget information provided to parks committee members by Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the committee’s October 7 budget meeting.
Village trustee Keith Burcham is chair of the parks committee. Village President Scott Gunnufson and Village Trustee Margaret Burcham also serve on the parks committee.
The maintenance, buildings and grounds line item has expenses of $18,661 for 2019, which includes $4,245 for the fence around the refreshment stand (beer tent) at the Colfax fairgrounds, $8,705 for the roof on the commercial building/pavilion at the fairgrounds and $500 for the repair of the pillars at the entrance to the fairgrounds, Niggemann said.
The capital outlay budget decreases to $3,000 for 2020 and that will be put into the mower replacement fund, she said.
For 2019, the parks budget is expected to be about $1,600 over budget.
The proposed budget amount for 2020 that will be recommended to the Colfax Village Board for parks will be $59,000, compared to a proposed budget for 2019 of $66,150.
Some of the items in the proposed 2020 budget of $10,000 for maintenance, buildings and grounds are $4,500 for a new electrical panel at Tom Prince Memorial Park and a new roof for the gazebo in Tower Park.
The proposed amount for employee health insurance in the 2020 parks budget of $3,200, compared to $5,500 for 2019, makes it appear as if health insurance premiums are decreasing, but that is not the case, Niggemann said.
The decrease in the amount for insurance in the budget is due to a different assignment of tasks to different employees. One person has been hired part-time seasonally to do the mowing around the village, and some of the benefits for full-time employees are now assigned to different parts of the village’s budget, she said.
In reality, premiums for health insurance through WEA Trust for village employees will be increasing by 11.5 percent, Niggemann said.
The actual increase could be 8.5 percent because the village has a “rainy day” fund which WEA created when the village paid an extra month of premiums at the beginning that could be applied to the 2020 premiums, she said.
Niggemann said she had received a call from Boyceville asking about WEA Trust as an insurance company because Boyceville’s health insurance premiums for employees will be increasing by 24.7 percent.
Compared to a 24.7 percent increase, “8.5 percent is not that bad,” she said.
Increases in insurance rates are frustrating because it seems as if the insurance companies “pick a number” without providing much information about why the rates are increasing, Niggemann said.
The village, she noted, has no way to increase revenue to pay for increases in insurance premiums.
The Colfax Village Board is expected to consider the proposed parks budget during the budget meeting in November.