By Meladi Brewer
VERSAILLES — Budgeting and juggling money were the topics of discussion at the Versailles Village Council meeting Wednesday, as they discussed the transfer of funds from the Water Fund to the Wellfield Development Fund.
Village Administrator Mike Busse addressed the council stating they created the wellfield development fund at the beginning project expenses for the wellfield and waterline coming into town. When the village created the funds, Fiscal Officer Kathy Ording received direction from the Auditor’s office to take all the current expenses and move them into that fund in order to be paid out of there.
“We moved all our engineering contracts from the regular water fund -which has money in it to this wellfield development fund,” Busse said. “We need the money now to follow those POs.”
Busse said they have expenses that are ready to come out of the wellfield fund, but the only money they had in the fund was money that was generated by the ARPA fund. It was advised that when the council moved all the engineering contracts over, it ate through the ARPA money that had been placed into the fund.
“We are trying to continue to work on this project, but we have no free cash in that fund,” Busse said. “The first step is that because we moved all these engineering services that would have been paid out of the water fund to the wellfield fund, this is the money that follows those engineering fees.”
As the project moves forward, the council will revert back to the Finance and Audit board to talk about long term payment solutions to figure out how the wellfield will be funded. Busse said “the village has everything budgeted, but the council’s budgeted revenues for the project are loans or grants”.
“You don’t get those loads or grants until after you start the project, so we are going to have to generate free cash from someplace whether that’s from the water fund or general fund. It’ll be seed money to kind of keep us moving forward,” Busse said.
The first step for the village is to cover the current expenses, and as they move forward with the project the council will get a better feeling about how the funds are going to work. From there, step two would be to think more long term and come back for recommendations. Busse said despite budgeting for the project in the beginning of the year there are issues that make the funds challenging.
“The problem is because we are on such a tight timeline to get this project moving forward and the lead time on everything is so long, things we want to accomplish in say July of this year need to have been already ordered. If we wait until July, we will not see those purchases until next year,” Busse said.
He advised the council the money they budgeted to use would be generated through user fees in the water fund for this year, so the money is not yet in the fund for use for the wellfield development and water lines. Plans are made to come back to council at a later date with recommendations and updates about where the project is at in order to come up with the funds.
“In an ideal world, we would say let’s set this money to the side every month and in two years we do this project. That’s really not where we are at with this project, and we need to keep the project moving forward. It’s imperative to the village that we don’t drag our feet,” Busse said.
The village is going to have to be more thorough with how they “juggle the money around”. A motion was made to move forward with the discussion and have it on the schedule for a second and third reading at the next Versailles Village Council Meeting.
The Wellfield Development had received a preliminary comment on the PTI for the wellfield and raw water line, and Busse had responded to them. Once the village obtains approval, they will begin work installing water line and conduit through the fields.
Busse said they have also filed a pre application for a low interest loan from EPA/OWDA for the Raw Water Line Project, and if they are accepted, the village will need to pass legislation to make a formal application for the loan. The current rate is under three percent, but the village will not be able to lock a rate until they are awarded the loan.
The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Wednesday, March. 8, 2023, at 7 p.m., in EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].