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Flossmoor looking to catch up on equipment replacement deferrals in fiscal year 2022

The Village of Flossmoor is aiming to catch up soon on some equipment replacements that have been deferred in recent fiscal years.

Flossmoor officials continued their examination of the preliminary fiscal year 2022 budgeton Monday, March 15, during a regularly scheduled Village Board meeting. This time, Village Manager Bridget Wachtel offered a look at Flossmoor’s capital equipment fund, a sinking fund the village uses to save money for the replacement of everything from computers to building maintenance across departments.

“We assign a life schedule to all of the equipment,” Wachtel said, while noting no replacements are automatic. “Every year we go through the process of assessing equipment.”

Deferrals were a common refrain throughout the discussion of the fund’s budget for FY22, which begins May 1, 2021, and continues through April 30, 2022. Because of the uncertainties of the pandemic in FY21, Flossmoor deferred whatever capital equipment replacements it could.

“We really took a conservative approach to replacing capital equipment,” Wachtel said. “We replaced only things we had to replace.”

But that has left the village with a few items that have been deferred more than once and some other replacements on the horizon. Wachtel’s report notes there is an importance to resuming the replacement schedule to preserve the “integrity and purpose of the fund.”

The capital equipment fund receives annual contributions from the village’s general fund as well as its water and sewer fund to build up savings to cover future replacements. That allows Flossmoor to pay for replacements through cash on hand.

Equipment is listed based on a 10-year replacement schedule. This year’s equipment schedule includes vehicles and a generator, while several other pieces of equipment are being deferred to FY23. Wachtel noted staff always consults with the village’s mechanic, as well as vendors as needed, before deferring upgrades.

“We make sure we don’t push something off to save a dollar today just to incur other maintenance costs,” she said.

In the police department, only one vehicle was replaced in FY21, while four other vehicles were deferred to FY22. A fire department car that was twice deferred is scheduled to be replaced in FY22. And the Village manager’s car, also deferred twice, is in the preliminary budget but may be removed before final approval, Wachtel said.

The police department also is slated to replace its closed-circuit television system after that was deferred in FY21. Breath analysis equipment, pistol range equipment, AED units and a copier in the department are in good condition and continue to be deferred, according to Wachtel’s report.

Body cameras are to be added to the fund in FY22, after the department piloted a system that works in conjunction with its in-car camera system. Those are to cost roughly $15,000 for the equipment and $13,000 annually for cloud storage.

Mayor Paul Braun emphasized that police reform legislation recently passed by the State means those cameras are required by 2025.

“For the benefit of the public, that has to be done,” he said. “This is a mandatory purchase for us.”

Wachtel said municipal building maintenance will also play a role in the fund in FY22. Carpet needs to be completed in the next fiscal year, she said. And the replacement of the Municipal Complex roof is expected to cost $600,000. Both of those items were planned for in FY20 but deferred.

Maintenance will also include interior and exterior painting, masonry repairs, and sealcoating and striping of the parking lot. Replacement of the fire department bay floor has been deferred because it is in good condition. Some plumbing and hardware replacement is also being put off, Wachtel said.

Wachtel noted staff will continue to evaluate and modify the fund before final budget approval. Trustee Diane Williams said she likes where Flossmoor is at this stage.

“I think it’s a well thought-out plan,” she said.

The full preliminary budget for FY22 can be viewed here

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