VVC discusses major financial decisions


By Meladi Brewer


VERSAILLES — Water the Versailles Village Council doing about the swimming pool filtration system improvement project? They are shell-abrating the awarding of a bid.

At their council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, the council met to discuss the pool project, as they are trying to complete it before their May 2024 opening date. Village Administrator Kyle Francis said the project has been worked on throughout the year, and the village was awarded a grant through the state appropriations.

“The grant was for $171,000, but there is an admin fee on that and will take it down to $167,580,” Francis said.

He said they have worked with Access Engineering to complete the building design and keep everything as simple as possible for the 20 x 30 building to hold new filtration equipment. The engineer’s estimate was $220,000. Francis said the bids came in over that, but they were within the 10 percent.

“Shinn Brothers, Inc. had the lowest bid of $239,000, and they did offer voluntary deductions at $3,000 for site reservation and $4,000 for gutter and downspouts on the building,” Francis said.

He believes these deductions will be cost effective if they take it off the price from Shinn Brothers and bring in a different company to complete them. The lawn restoration will come from the concrete trucks coming off the pool parking and going around the south side of the fence. A section of the fence will be opened for easier access.

“We don’t want them going through the park and destroying the rest of the sidewalk in that area for pedestrians and all that stuff,” Francis said. “We can save money by doing all that stuff ourselves because we have all the equipment and can do it.”

Francis said to have Shinn Brothers complete the gutters and downspouts, the village would be looking at a prevailing wage job meaning they would be “paying someone to put spouting up at a very high dollar per hour”.

“They offered a deduct, and that is something we could go out and hire another company to come in after the project is done to do it for a more reasonable price,” Francis said.

The original budgeted price for the project was a little over $200,000, and unfortunately the village is going to come up a little short. A factor in the unsuspected cost was concrete prices have sky rocketed so much so that the decrease in in other material costs could not offset it. Another factor is that the village is trying to complete the project in the off season before the pool opens, so factoring environmental factors and equipment needed to ensure the concrete curates properly is going to be higher as well.

Fiscal Officer Kathy Ording spoke on the project being a little higher than they originally budgeted for, and advised the council that she needed to put money aside into the pool fund in order to compensate.

“The grant that we are receiving of $167,580 – obviously we do not have that yet, and from what Francis has informed me, we will be paying for the project and then the grant will reimburse us,” Ording said.

Francis advised the grant is a great fund, but the project has to be paid for upfront before getting money back at the end. The village will pay for the project, submit the expenses, and a check will be sent back to the village. Ording said the pool fund does not have the funds to pay for the project upfront, so she requested the appropriations for the general fund to be amended by the grant amount and the pool fund appropriations will reflect the difference in what the village originally budgeted and what is now needed which is $31,000.

“Basically once the project gets through they are going to write us a check back, Ording will take that money and replenish right back into the fund,” Francis said.

The council approved Ording to advance the funds from the General Fund into the Swimming Pool Fund.

Fire Chief Brian Pearson discussed the proposal of a contract with Rosenbauer for an Aerial Fire Truck, complete with Rosenbauer Commander chassis and Rosenbauer King Cobra Platform. This truck will replace a 1997 Freightliner. Pearson said this project has been looked into on a very in-depth scale this year, and numerous avenues had been explored.

“We have noticed this is a need with the ever growing structures: agriculturally, commercial, etc.,” Pearson said.

He said something they could do is send out information they have collected to the tax paying citizens, and a week and a half ago they handed out 85 letters to agricultural groups requesting information to see if this project would be a true benefit to the community.

Pearson advised the feedback they did receive was all positive, and he was shocked with how many people actually responded back to him. He said looking at the engine, the lead time is any where from 30 to 26 months out, and since 2019 there has been a 39 1/2 percent increase in prices as well. He says there is a sizable increase already predicted for the beginning of 2024, so if the council decided to move forward with the project, he recommends active before Dec. 31 otherwise they will feel the weight of inflation.

“We need to stay on top of this because say we wait until Jan. 5 to make a decision, it is a difference of $221,000 and some change. It puts us out of reach of next year’s increase of what we can currently put aside.”

The thought is not whether they invest all or nothing, as they still have to replace a 30 year old truck in three years, but they are just looking at getting ahead of schedule to save hundreds of thousands of dollars with the increases. Pearson also said this is a good way to get themselves in line.

Pearson said there is time for donation and grant opportunities along the financial process that will help offset costs of the new, needed equipment.

“Anything we can do to offset that balance to save interest is what I proposed to this grant cycle,” Pearson said. “I said we would technically, from the time of grant awards, what is the time to spend that money because financially we can meet the first two payments.”

He said they will have to look at finances, financing, grants, and donations that can go into the costs. He said the grant money would be utilized to help offset those costs, but reminded the council that there is no guarantee they will receive the grant money.

“Initially to save a lot of money, I was looking at purchasing a demo truck that was already in the line-up they had scheduled to be built in 2025 to take to trade shows, and there were some substantial savings on that. I’ve been chasing that idea and pulling together research and information,” Pearson said.

The only catch to being able to purchase this demo truck is the contract would have to be signed by the end of the year leaving only two more council meetings before the Dec. 31 deadline, so the company building the truck can order all the parts without the increased costs of the new year.

“It is a substantial investment for the community,” Pearson said. “It really is a big commitment, and it is why I have been adamant that everyone is onboard and in favor of this.”

Pearson said the Wayne Township Trustees were on board with the contract and supportive of finding additional revenue. The fire department is going to do everything they can to subsidize the first price.

“We can keep our heads above water, but it would be ideal to chip away at that big price,” Pearson said. “I’m ok if the time is not right now, but i am doing everything I can to avoid a

The council agreed to add this proposal to the agenda and prepare legislation for the next meeting in order to discuss it further. A decision may or may not be made at that time, but they wanted to ensure it was on the agenda ready to do just in case there are complications with the deadline if they decided to approve the proposal.

The next Versailles Council meeting will take place Wednesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m., in EMS Building, 320 Baker Road, Versailles.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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