South Range builds surplus, looks for potential setbacks

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette The village of South Range announced a surplus budget for 2017 and discussed future expenditures at its Thursday meeting.

SOUTH RANGE — After years of operating on a deficit, the village of South Range reported a surplus for 2017 and is on track to do so again this year, despite unexpected setbacks.

Village Council President Justin Marier went over the numbers and gave notice of potential setbacks to watch for in the coming year at the council’s Thursday meeting.

The village has been operating over budget since 2009, Marier reported, chipping away at what was once about $634,000 in checking and savings.

“This is going back quite a ways, we have not had a positive year…(for) almost 10 years,” Marier explained.

That is not the case for the 2017 budget.

“Any guesses?” he asked council members, who quickly affirmed it would be in the black.

“We are positive by $164,000,” Marier announced. “So it was a great year.”

The amount may be misleading, he pointed out, as $77,000 came from lot sales, but even with that, the budget would still have a surplus.

“That kind of gives us a baseline,” Marier said. “We were very frugal last year because we wanted to make sure we had a positive year because we needed to have a positive year after 10 years of being in the negative.”

Moving forward things are going to be more difficult as South Range is moving forward on several projects he said.

For 2018 more is budgeted for employee wages and benefits, a blighted building will be removed and a little more will need to be paid for the new playground.

There were a few unexpected setbacks raised at the meeting as well, with snowplow damage to an electricity utility transformer, an unexpected loss of Act 51 road-clearing funding due to an auditor error and an unexpected bond refund.

The village is investigating what can be done to make up the Act 51 loss, and it might sell more lots, but that was not certain at this point.

A new grader will also need to be considered though there are currently funds set aside for that.

Even with those setbacks, the village will not have a deficit if everything goes as planned but will need to be careful moving forward, Marier said.

“It is a lot (of money) but it isn’t a lot,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to eat that up…we’re going to have to be careful moving forward.”