By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg Village Council approved resurfacing of Michigan Avenue, the purchase of a new police car and appointment of an auditor at a special budget meeting.
“Michigan Avenue is in pretty bad shape,” said Village Manager Ken Schippers. He recommended spending $60,000 on the project due to the high volume of traffic on the road. The council members agreed unanimously to proceed with the project.
The council approved the firm of Portage CPA Siegfried Crandall to audit village books at a cost of about $29,500. The recommendation came from Ken Schippers. Changing auditors should lead to a savings of around $16,000. President Bill Adams agreed, adding the accounting firm is currently in an “off time,” and has people available right now. “It made sense to me,” Adams said. Schippers also mentioned years of experience of some employees. Their experience working with similar-sized communities also made them an ideal fit.
The council also discussed the purchase of a new police car for about $33,000. Schippers says the car was originally slated to go on the budget for 2016, but money saved by the department allows for an earlier purchase. “Next year we would have to budget a police car, same with the tasers,” Schippers said. “We have the money to do this.” Concerns over the purchase by James Earl caused some discussion on why the replacement was needed. Schippers noted that it is due to higher mileage on some of the vehicles. Repairs, safety and liability also factor into the need to replace. The need to get the order for the car in before the end of the fiscal year in June led to the council’s approval of the purchase.
Also on the agenda were five new tasers for the police department at a cost of $5,000. “The tasers are supposed to be replaced every five years,” Schippers said. The costs also covered new holsters and replacement batteries. The need for the purchase comes as a part of a recommendation by the manufacturer. “I’m not a taser expert; I don’t pretend to be,” Schippers said. “I trust them that they need replacement.” The council ended up also approving the purchase.
The council reviewed a preliminary budget for 2016. Village Treasurer Jenny McKillop reported revenues should be up and expenses down for the 2016 fiscal year. The council discussed a few amendments that have to be made to the budget. One is $5,000 for the possible phase one development of another brownfield. Also discussed was the possibility of adding an additional $10,000 for the electronic publication of ordinances online. Chris Newman stressed the importance of getting the documents online for public access. “These need to be available online,” Newman said. “I’m tired of getting shown up by municipalities that have 500 people.” Tracey Locey noted that getting the documents online would answer questions she fields every day.
The council passed the budget at its second June meeting. Adams praised the staff for its efforts. “I would like to congratulate Ken and the staff for a very workable budget,” Adams said. “I know it wasn’t easy for everybody.”