2015-2016 Bull Valley Budget Summary

2014-2015 Fiscal Year in Review

The financial picture for the Village of Bull Valley has improved during the past fiscal year for a number of reasons.  A primary reason for this improvement was the change in tax levy that was passed last fall.  The voters of Bull Valley approved, through a referendum, a change in the tax levy that replaced the expiring road bond taxes with an increase in the general real estate tax levy.  The overall effect was a slight decrease in the following year’s municipal levy (and a decrease in the municipal property taxes) but the change allowed a significantly larger part of the taxes to be allocated to road resurfacing reserves.

The Village’s largest road project in the last 15 years was completed this past year on time and under budget.  A federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) grant was obtained to help pay for the majority of the construction costs.  Bull Valley’s share of this project was expected to be financed with a large three-year loan.  The loan amount was substantially reduced by using accumulated road reserve funds and reductions in other road department accounts.

Other noteworthy highlights during this past fiscal year include:

1)    Total expenses (except for the large road resurfacing costs that were paid in advance) for the past fiscal year (2014-2015) are approximately on target while income is higher than budget.
2)    Village finances were broken into four distinct departments (funds) which were budgeted and reported individually this past year (Administration, Roads, Police, and Parks).
3)    Committed (reserve) funds were established for large capital expenditures.
4)    The Village received multiple grants for our police and parks departments in addition to our STP road grants.
5)    The Village has benefitted from a growing network of volunteers whose contributions have kept our municipal costs (taxes) down.  Our Dog Park Committee, which handles the mowing of our 7-acre dog park, is one such example.
6)    Our residents have been generous with financial contributions.  As an example, one resident donated $10,000 for the purchase of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for our police squad cars.

2015-2016 Budget Comments

The Village’s budget serves as a blueprint for the coming year and this year’s budget continues to incorporate the fiscally responsible measures initiated in recent years.

There is a concerted effort by the Board of Trustees to minimize unnecessary expenses while generating more “non-tax” revenue.  This year’s budget addresses some of the deferred maintenance issues with the Still Farm and Stickney Park properties.  Also, reserve funding received more attention in this year’s budget to help reduce the need for future loans or bonds.  Important financial items for the year include:

1)    10-Year Pavement Plan - This plan was developed during the past year and will be evaluated and revised in the coming year.  The Village’s roads are a top priority of the Board of Trustees and received special attention during the budgeting process.  The 2015-16 budget included a road resurfacing reserve fund that increased allocations by 552%.
2)    Property Maintenance - During the past year a “Parks Department” was created to identify expenses and allocate revenue needed to maintain the two properties owned by the Village.  The two properties, Still Farm & Stickney Park have a total of five structures with considerable deferred maintenance.  This year’s budget increased reserve allocations by 475% to protect these assets and reduce long term costs.  This funding, combined with the continued help of volunteers within the community, will help protect our Village’s assets.
3)    Reserve Fund Growth - The Road and Police Departments utilize equipment and vehicles that wear out and eventually need replacing.  Substantial reserve funding increases for these two accounts were addressed in this year’s budget.  Amortizing these costs through reserve funds will help stabilize future budgets and keep future costs down by minimizing debt related expenses.
4)    Administrative Efficiency - It is important to embrace changes in technology that can streamline administrative procedures and protect Village records.  The new budget allocates funds to begin digitizing older records.  In addition, automated remote banking and metered postage are addressed in the budget and will help improve staff efficiency.
5)    Debt Reduction - Last November, the village made its final payment on a 15-year bond.  In addition, the size of a short-term loan for the recently completed road resurfacing project was significantly reduced.  This year’s budget includes paying off, in it’s entirety, our short term loan for road work and paying down the majority of our two squad car loans.

In summary, the 2015-2016 budget increased funding for most of our reserve accounts, Village debt has been reduced to the lowest level in 15 years, and more money was set aside to address deferred maintenance to Village property.  Despite these positive changes, the recently created road resurfacing fund lacks adequate levels of capital to address the future needs of the village.  The Board of Trustees will be working on a long term strategic plan to address this and other problems within the village during the coming year.

2016 Pie Charts Pending
Finance Director
Kurt Kleinschmidt

To contact Kurt Kleinschmidt, please call (815)459-4833