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  • Writer's pictureTricia Babischkin

Financial Issues: What's a balanced budget?

There's a old joke that says how do you start a small business? You start a large business and wait. (Insert rim shot here) This joke has become an ear worm in my head as I've been pulling together the numbers to review and outline the financial issues that our current administration and the current board have allowed to become the state of the finances of our villages.

Let's begin with a true overview of the accounts. (I've manually entered all the numbers from the Revenue & Expeditures reports in the year end financials. I've done my best to ensure against typos, but if you find one -- let me know and I'll correct it. Also, most of these numbers do NOT match CAO Smith's budget proposal, either because her numbers are mis-typed OR the sum function isn't working right in her spreadsheet.) I've gone back to the 2016-2017 actuals so you can compare the year prior to Smith's hiring to the budget she just prepared and the board approved:

Do you see what I see? Basically, had we not sold the property for the gas station and refinanced the bond for the refurbishment of Well #5 (it's the well that has a methane issue at the end of Palmer). We would have been in BIG trouble! I'm going to let you decide how ok you are with a nearly $400K deficit in our spending for next year. (Though to be completely open, we wouldn't be spending our bank accounts down to zero, because we have reserves -- reserves that have been spent down over the previous three years to nearly the minimum agreed on by our board of 30%. For what it's worth, that 30% is also the minimum generally accepted standard for a municipality to hold a AAA bond rating -- which we've been proud of and are currently risking with this out of control spending.)

I will dig through these areas of the budget in better detail over the next few days, but I also want you to really look at that red $380K budgeted number and note that these things are listed in the budget with ZERO dollars against them:

  • 4 computer replacements for front desk & admin and 3 computer replacements for the Police Department

  • Financial Software/Village Hall Remodel Phase I (Architectural Services FY 21) -- Who knew?

  • Generator for Police Department FY 21 TBD

  • Replace 2013 Dodge Charger police car with SUV $43,500 -- FY21 TBD

  • Irrigation well for Red Tail listed in the comments as being $30K, not the $20K that was approved in the June 23rd meeting

Not to put to fine a point on this -- this board has failed the residents of this village. They have allowed this overspending without checking and confirming the need. What have we gotten for this three years of in the red spending? Do we have streets that aren't full of pot holes? Do we have upgraded sewers and drainage? Do we have a police department with a steel door between them and Village Hall?

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