Brookfield trustees Monday night made good on their promise to put a local sales tax referendum question on the March 21 primary ballot. Voting 4-2, trustees agreed to ask residents to impose a 1-percent sales tax, to fund road improvements in 2006 and beyond.
Trustees Catherine Colgrass Edwards, Kit Ketchmark , C.P. Hall and Michael Towner voted in favor of the referendum question, while Linda Stevanovich and Alan Dorobiala voted against it.
In opposing the question, Stevanovich said she wasn’t against the idea of the sales tax. Rather, she said, she felt the timing wasn’t right given the possibility of two other referendum questions in the Proviso Township portion of the village. Elementary School District 95 has already voted to put a property tax hike referendum on the ballot, and Riverside-Brookfield High School was expected to make a construction bond purchase referendum official last night after press time.
“I’m afraid people will react so negatively that they’ll vote against all three,” Stevanovich said. “I wish we would hold off at least one election. I want those [school] referendums to pass. I think we should hold off on ours.”
Trustee Kit Ketchmark argued that holding off on the village’s referendum would doom street improvements for 2006.
“If we want to do infrastructure improvements, this has to be approved,” Ketchmark said. “Residents do have to make choices, but we need to look at the needs of the village, too.”
Dorobiala did not comment prior to voting against the sales tax question.
If the referendum is successful, Brookfield expects to collect $400,000 annually from the sales tax. The village’s financial advisor previously recommended that the village use the new revenue to fund the debt service on a future multi-million dollar bond issue that would be used to ongoing street improvements throughout the village.