Thursday, October 24, 2002
Oak Creek Oak Creek Treasurer Jo Dee Stordal hopes a software switch will help the town better prepare its annual budget.
Oak Creek is in the process of developing a budget now and will hold a budget meeting Tuesday. A preliminary budget is due Nov. 4.
The town's annual budget is about $1.1 million.
Stordal said Oak Creek's accounting software FundWare did not function properly and debits were posted as credits. At a FundWare training session in Denver, Stordal was advised to run a reorganizing program to fix the problem. She said when she followed that advice, town financial data was corrupted and several files were destroyed. Stordal also discovered no backup had run since April 6.
With permission from the Town Board, Stordal found new accounting software through the town's Nebraska electric cooperative. The new software will allow the town to make several changes to the way Oak Creek's finances are managed, she said.
"Everything we do now is fully legal, but it is very inefficient," Stordal said. "We have a 39-page budget, which is ridiculous for a town this size."
During recent budget meetings, the board discussed a new system in which each department and utility will pay a management fee into an account designated for "overhead."
"We are still trying to decide how we are going to do that," Stordal said.
Until now, one public works employee is paid from seven different departments, she said. Under the new system, salaries will be paid from one account.
The process of balancing the town's budget has been difficult, Stordal said. It is the first time most board members and staff have taken on such a task.
"(Former town manager) Ray Liebensperger didn't involve any of us last year," Stordal said. "He hand wrote all the numbers, I typed them in. There was minor discussion by the board."
The town has issues other than software and inexperience in developing its budget.
Without a police chief, it's hard to draw up a preliminary budget for the police department, Stordal said. Reserve officer Eileen Rossi put together a proposal, Stordal said, but it was higher than last year's budget for the department.
The board is also trying to add recycling services to the current trash collection contract without raising rates. Currently, Oak Creek residents pay $14 a month for trash collection.
Other money is being set aside as matching funds for possible grants to improve the town's infrastructure, and $1,000 has been set aside to pay for a possible recall election of Mayor Cargo Rodeman.
"(Town Clerk) Nancy Crawford said that she has leftover election materials," Stordal said, "so the recall shouldn't take as much taxpayer money as other elections."