Village buys items with its fund balance

Account remains at a healthy rate, treasurer says
Ozaukee Press Staff

More than $20,000 in purchases from the fund balance account were approved by the Belgium Village Board this month.

The board unanimously supported buying nine items totaling $21,450 without discussion after going over each purchase at last month’s Committee of the Whole meeting in which the entire board gathers in committee format.

Before the list of purchases and the separate approval of paying for the e-cycling event on May 15, the village’s fund balance was at $357,600, or 26% of its general fund operating budget, Treasurer Vickie Boehnlein said.

The village’s financial advisor recommends a fund balance, typically used for unexpected costs or emergencies, of 10% to 25%.

After the purchases and e-cycle funding, the fund balance was at 24%.

In the past, the village has had a 15% to 20% fund balance account, which “gives us a nice cushion if things come up throughout the year,” Boehnlein said.

The most expensive item approved was a brine tank for $7,000.

Public Works Director Dan Birenbaum wanted a new 6,250-gallon tank to replace the village’s 2,000-gallon one in order to have to fill it fewer times with brine to treat the village’s roads during winter.

Brine, a salt mixture, does a better job of handling ice than just salt and allows the village to stretch its salt supply.

The last load of salt the village received came in December 2019, and Birenbaum said without the brine the salt would have been used up by now.

“That’s one thing you’re going to see a return on,” Trustee Josh Borden said. Borden works for the Ozaukee County Highway Department, which in January and February made nearly 300,000 gallons of brine and is looking at buying a semi-tanker to hold it.

“This will pay for itself in a month, that $7 grand,” Borden said.

Other items purchased include:

• $1,600 for tires for a 2006 street sweeper. The other option, Birenbaum said, was to buy the tires through the maintenance budget and come up short at the end of the year.

• $4,000 for an aerator for lawns so the village doesn’t have to borrow one from Cedar Grove-Belgium High School.

• $3,000 to remodel village garage No. 1. Birenbaum wants to remove a wall to combine a 10-feet-by-10-feet office and equally sized breakroom. The last time the building was remodeled was 15 years ago, he said.

• $1,600 for a new computer to replace Birenbaum’s machine that isn’t able to use Zoom. His old computer will replace the one used by the village marshal, which Boehnlein said, “is really, really bad.” It has Windows 7, which isn’t supported anymore, and Birenbaum’s has Windows 8, which is good enough for what the marshal needs.

Birenbaum can keep his old monitor, Boehnlein said.

• $1,500 for a water heater for Village Hall. The hall has an on-demand water heater that takes 10 minutes to get hot water in the kitchen, Birenbaum said.

• $1,000 for a motorized screen and two locks for the storage room at Village Hall. The screen, Boehnlein said, can be mounted against the back wall. A projector is already in place.

Locks are beneficial when the Village Hall hosts events and groups use the meeting room.

• $550 for an electric concrete mixer that would allow the village to make its own concrete for small jobs.

• $1,200 for a Honda generator.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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