To the editor,
The Village’s Capital Fund budgeting is always about long-term planning. It looks ahead for ten years to identify known and expected large expenses as well as routine ones. These are usually for equipment, or buildings or for infrastructure. The idea is to not have several big ticket items come in the same year. Occasionally something comes up that, anticipated or not, must be paid for immediately. Such a circumstance occurred this year as we acted on an important opportunity, the acquisition of the property for the new DPW building. It can also happen if some piece of equipment or infrastructure breaks down and requires immediate replacement.
When major expenditures occur outside the 10-year plan, the plan must be adjusted. Sometimes this means pushing a planned expenditure out to a later year. This approach has its downfalls, however, pushing them off tends to force bigger expenditures in later years. This is because several big items may require financing in a single year but also because the cost of borrowing is going up as well as the actual costs of the equipment or the proposed work.
This year at its June 5 meeting, the Village Board approved its Capital budget for the current 2017/2018 fiscal year. For the General Fund Capital budget, it calls for $1 585,000 to be bonded, $1,900,000 to be spent from the Fund Balance, and an additional $203,000 to be paid for with Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs( 5-year notes)). The items to be BANed are primarily vehicles or small equipment purchases.
The major portion is to pay for the acquisition and costs associated with a new building to be used for the DPW and Water Department headquarters. At the same time, it has the result of pushing off some large expenditures into coming years. These include, with estimated costs, the replacement of Engine 118 ($700,000), three large DPW trucks (each at $250,000), postponing the Croton Point Avenue Improvements (while at the same time adding parking spaces and traffic at the train lot), improvements to the HMB bridge, and an Ambulance replacement ($200,000).
While we are fortunate this year to have a considerable amount of Fund Balance money available to help with the purchase and reduce this year’s bond costs, this will not be the case in the coming years for the above-mentioned items and any unforeseen items.