Ashwaubenon transfers surplus 2020 general fund dollars
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – Despite last year’s budget challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the village’s general fund recorded approximately a $421,000 surplus, Finance Director Greg Wenholz reported March 23 to the Ashwaubenon village board.
Wenholz said those excess funds are typically assigned by the board for a specific purpose, so they are not just dropped in the general fund reserve balance, where their future use could potentially result in the village being penalized by bond rating agencies.
“You heard a lot last year about financials and where we’re going to be, and it was a very challenging year – very challenging to try to predict what was going to happen where money was going to come and go,” he said. “We had a lot of revenue shortfalls. We had a lot of expenses that never occurred, and then we had some reimbursement from (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) CARES Act, and then we had some other things where we forgave (health care) premiums, which helped the budget.”
With approximately $421,000 in excess funds at the end of 2020, Wenholz said he recommended placing $100,000 in the employee retirement fund.
“In years past, that’s always something we like to replenish, because we pay out those accrual balances,” he said. “That helps with that fund.”
Wenholz said he recommended placing the remaining $321,260 in the village building fund, because of some high-cost, one-time projects planned over the next couple of years, such as resurfacing the west and north parking lots by the village hall.
“The budget was approved last year to do a storage study in the back of the garage with all the equipment, and that probably will result in some sort of capital expenditure to expand space, especially when we look at potentially adding a garbage truck in the next couple of years, and things like that,” he said. “We’re running low on space.”
Wenholz said transferring the remaining $321,260 in the village building fund would help the budget for the next three years.
“The other big project is park and recreation has this storage shed in Ashwaubomay Park that has been put off for a year or two already,” he said. “That thing apparently is just ready to be replaced, so that’s another big item.”
Wenholz said the board’s action to transfer the excess funds as recommended could be changed in the future.
“If in three months something comes up, you guys can say, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about that money?” he said. “It can be reassigned at a future date, if the board would choose to do that.”
Wenholz said the transfers the board approved move them out of the general fund to become budget items for future use.
“When we get into budget discussions later this year, we will definitely talk about the use of these funds over the next couple of years, probably next two years,” he said. “I think by then we’ll have a study result from the storage and garage use study results and what the recommendations are.”