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Fredonia
Crafting tight village budget no simple task PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 16:30

Fredonia Ave. financing has committee taking close look at purchase requests

The Village of Fredonia’s Finance Committee is slowly piecing together a 2015 budget with the goal of holding the line on local taxes.

The anticipated tax levy for village spending would be $802,000. That would be an increase of about $5,000.

The committee has met several times including a rare Committee of the Whole session with all village trustees in anticipation of a Nov. 6 hearing on the spending plan.

An overriding concern of committee members is minimizing village operating expenses because payments will start next year on the reconstruction of Fredonia Avenue.

Ozaukee County is overseeing the 2015 project, although work has begun on the installation of new water mains. Road bids have not yet been received, but the total project is expected to cost about $2 million.

Even though Village Marshal Mike Davel presented virtually a no-increase budget request, the committee is calling for a one-year delay in a proposed squad car replacement.

Davel asked that $18,000 be included in the 2015 budget, with a matching number in the 2016 spending plan to cover the cost of a new squad car.

The car that will be replaced currently has about 75,000 miles on its odometer.

Looking at other anticipated expenses, the committee has recommended placing $12,000 in a reserve account over the next three years so that the vehicle can be purchased in 2017.

“We can live with 2017,” Davel said.

He said once the new car is purchased, the department won’t need another replacement for seven or eight years.

With the tight budget constraints, Davel also said he would be content keeping the department at its current strength of eight part-time officers.

The department averages about 76 hours a week of patrols.

“Given your budget, I think you are in good shape with what we have. It is questionable how much you would gain by adding a few hours,” Davel said.

The committee is also calling for an extended plan for the purchase of a grass fire truck for the fire department.

According to that strategy, the village would set aside $15,000 a year for the truck so that its $60,000 price can be covered in 2018.

The figuring got a little more complicated when the committee looked at anticipated water department spending, especially the need for extensive maintenance on the Tower Drive water tower.

The village received an estimate of $152,000 to re-coat the interior and exterior of the 30,000-gallon tower. If that work is to be done next year, the money will have to be included in the 2015 budget.

Committee members are more intrigued by the prospect of contracting with a private firm that would essentially take over the ongoing maintenance of the tower for a flat $60,000 a year fee.

The committee recommended a five-year contract with Dixon Engineering of Michigan be started in the upcoming budget cycle.

“I like the idea of a turn-key water tower. The maintenance cost is not anything we can easily afford, but it is not something we can put off,” said Trustee Don Dohrwardt, chairman of the committee.

Money will be included in the budget for a rate study that could justify raising water charges more than the 3% allowed by the Public Service Commission without state approval.

The committee also discussed the possibility of including money in the budget for an engineering study that would give a more solid number on what proposed fire station improvements would cost.

A needs analysis suggested the cost of making extensive upgrades at the station would cost between $1.7 million and $2.6 million.

Dohrwardt said village officials have scrutinized every penny spent in recent budgets, but that approach may soon be having an affect on village operations.

“For the past 10 years we have been keeping the tax rate flat and it has been a nice ride but we are starting to slowly suffer the consequences,” he said

“It has gotten to the point where we have to do what we have to do and if people want to vote us out of office, so be it.”


 
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