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The effects of a proposed property tax freeze

Flossmoor’s shopping list for the coming year includes two dump trucks, fire department air packs, a pair of squad cars, a heavy duty laser printer and new financial software.

As village officials prepare the new municipal budget, it’s time to assess those items, big and small, that are used to fix potholes, get out the bills and provide other services to Flossmoor residents.

Village board members Monday reviewed the preliminary budget for the Capital Equipment Fund, a special account designed to help Flossmoor maintain its inventory of items used in the various municipal departments. It was established as a financial mechanism to anticipate and fund capital equipment replacements upon the completion of an item’s useful life.

Flossmoor’s capital equipment inventory includes police and fire vehicles, ambulances, trucks, snowplows, machines and computers. The Capital Equipment Fund also pays for the replacement of major maintenance items at village hall and the public works facility.

The village’s new budget will go into effect May 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year. Village board members are expected to approve the new budget in mid-April.

The Capital Equipment Fund receives its money through contributions from the General Fund and the Water and Sewer Fund that are based on a 10-year schedule for replacing existing equipment. Spending in the fund during the coming fiscal year is tentatively set at $1,070,000.

Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said the fund allows long-range financial planning in Flossmoor and helps control fluctuations in spending for capital spending. On Monday, Wachtel described capital spending for the coming year and highlighted some of the major budget proposals.

Flossmoor needs to purchase new software for the village’s Finance Department, Wachtel said. She asked for permission to start that process. The new software is expected to cost $191,000. She said that the current software, MSI was purchased several years ago. That software is being phased out; the current provider said it can probably be supported for another four to eight years. But Wachtel said the village cannot delay the process any longer and should begin asking for proposals on a new system during the next fiscal year.

“The financial system software is the foundation of all village business operations, which makes this a project of critical importance to the Finance Department, as well as to the village as a whole,” she wrote in a memo to the board. She estimated it will take two fiscal years before the new software is in place.

Fire Department air packs are budgeted at $199,920. The current air packs are at the end of their useful service life and can no longer be effectively tested, Wachtel said. The price of the new packs shows an increase of nearly $37,000 over a quote that the village received last year.

Two dump trucks, for the Public Works Department, are expected to cost $150,000 each. Each of the trucks has a five-yard load capacity and comes with plows and spreaders. One of the trucks to be replaced is 10 years old. The other has been in service eight years. Both new trucks will be on eight-year schedules.

A three-quarter ton 4-by-4 pickup truck is also to be purchased by Public Works. It will come with a plow and is budgeted at $35,000. It will replace a seven-year-old pickup truck.

Two police cars are up for replacement this year, a total cost of $61,500. The two cars were evaluated last year; at the time they were on a two-year replacement schedule. However, due to their condition they were given an additional year of service.

The village hall laser printer is budgeted at $2,500. Wachtel said the machine has been used both for large printing jobs and daily operations since it was purchased in 2008. Its replacement has been deferred during the last three budget cycles. Village staff does not expect the machine to be “sufficiently reliable” for another year, Wachtel said.

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