By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg Village Council members in January designated more than $500,000 of available funds to support specific future needs.
With passage of the resolution, council members trimmed the village’s fund balance by more than 50 percent, still well above a state recommended minimum of 17 percent.
Village Manager Jim Mallery said assigning portions of the fund balance aligns with practices acknowledged by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, an independent organization which establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for state and local governments.
The board’s designation of the funds means future councils will be able to use the money only for the purposes indicated through the resolution. This will keep village projects on track, make administrative and council changes more seamless, and provide transparency and clarify expectations to residents, Mallery said.
“More importantly, we don’t require loans and/or bonds to buy needed items, saving our taxpayer additional interest payments,” he said.
The amounts and restricted fund-balance designations are:
- $150,000 to the village’s tax-stabilization fund.
- $65,000 dedicated to Vicksburg’s benefit-pension reserve fund.
- $85,500 allocated to the DPW’s vehicle fund.
- $65,000 for DPW future purchases of heavy equipment.
- $10,000 to DPW eventual purchase of a crane truck.
- $15,000 earmarked for DPW’s ultimate purchase of a Bobcat.
- $25,000 toward DPW’s future purchase of a pickup.
- $47,500 toward the police department’s future purchase of a patrol car.
- $10,000 toward police department’s allocation for weapons, to be purchased as circumstances warrant.
- $10,500 earmarked for police communications and radios.
- $55,967 for equipment the village will need at its new municipal office.
- $82,000 to Parks and Recreation for unspecified purposes.
- $64,000 set aside for eventual improvements of the municipal parking lot behind businesses on the west side of Main Street.
The Council also allocated $2 million in carryover funds toward its municipal building. The village is expected to use funds from this account to cover construction expenses related to the new office. Construction is expected to start before the end of June.
Mallery provided an example to better illustrate the steps village council members took in approving the resolution.
“The amounts that were listed, committed and assigned (are) simply putting that money in what would be described in our personal lives as a savings account for when it needs to be spent,” he said. “These items will not be expensed in this fiscal year.”
Using the DPW’s $10,000 allocation for purchase of a crane truck, Mallery provided additional clarity on what the council approved.
“We know that a new crane truck in today’s dollars is $110,000 and we also know that has a 20-year life span, so in 2038, we can predict that the village will need a new crane truck,” he said. “So, by 2038 (the village council at that time) will have the cash (to make that purchase).”
Mallery said the village has made great strides financially. Being able to make annual budget allocations to benefit future councils would have been a luxury he wishes the current seven-member panel had.
“When I started with the village, we looked at purchasing a $1,500 computer and weren’t sure if we should actually purchase that laptop or not,” he said. “Now, we’re talking about purchasing a village hall for cash money and being truly one of the only municipalities in the area to pay cash on that type of a purchase.”
Regarding the $2 million amount for the impending, new village office, Mallery explained the village has set aside a total of $1.75 million over the past five fiscal years. An additional $250,000 added when the village’s 2021-22 fiscal year concluded June 30 brought that figure up to its current $2 million amount.
Council member Carl Keller said Mallery and village staff deserve credit for the forethought put toward Vicksburg’s future needs and how those needs will be addressed financially.
“The citizens need to understand that we’re going to pay cash for a new village hall, hopefully within the next year or so (and) that’s huge,” Keller said. “Other entities, other boards that we’re on aren’t doing this. We’re setting money aside for future needs.”
Trustee Rick Holmes said the work of Mallery, staff and the village board is exceptional.
“It’s not bragging if it’s true (so) I think it’s fair to congratulate everybody to continue to see the success we’re having with our financials,” he said.