A month before nominating petitions need to be filed, eight people have already announced they’re candidates for Brookfield village trustee in the April 2011 election.

Both political parties in the village have announced full, three-person slates. And on Saturday, a second independent candidate began knocking on doors to obtain the signatures required to be placed on the ballot.

Josh Jones, a local banker, said Monday he probably already has gathered enough signatures, but will try to double that number before filing begins on Dec. 13.

In an interview with the Landmark on Monday, Jones said it is time for elected officials in Brookfield to begin thinking of different ways for the village to get the most bang for its tax buck.

“Something has to give,” Jones said.

In an economy where people are seeing their property taxes rise while the values of their properties have fallen 20 to 30 percent, Jones said local governments need to find ways to boost the local economy to help fund services instead of raising property taxes and user fees.

“People are to the breaking point,” Jones said. “We need to raise the real issues, the big elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.”

That elephant, Jones said, is a pension system that is draining money away from services. And the conversation, Jones said, needs to start at the local level, because local governments can’t wait for the state to start it for them.

“It has to start somewhere,” Jones said. “It’s not going to come from the top.”

Jones said that local government needs to talk with its union employees, particularly police and fire unions, and convince them that the pension system needs to change. While he said he would not advocate changing the pension rules for current employees, Jones said local taxpayers can’t afford the system for new employees.

Instead of layoffs or reducing public safety salaries, Jones suggested that the conversation should start with pension benefits. With annual raises to pension benefits guaranteed, Jones said that if a former public employee is retired long enough, he can end up making more via pension that when he was employed.

“We can’t keep raising taxes to offset it,” Jones said.

Jones also advocates lowering the cost of doing business in Brookfield by lowering or eliminating the cost to obtain business licenses and streamlining the building permit process. For new businesses, in particular, Jones said, waiving some fees might help fill storefronts and bring in sales tax revenue.

“It can offset what the town loses in up-front fees,” Jones said. “We’ve got to have that balance. We’re not thinking outside the box.”

Jones said he is formulating a five-year business plan for the village, a plan he said should be available once he’s on the ballot after the December candidate filing period is over.

As for his decision to seek office as an independent, Jones said that candidates should be elected on the strength of their ideas, not their allegiance to a party. His independence also means he doesn’t have to compromise on his positions to include them in a party platform, he said.

“I want people to vote on ideas, thoughts and beliefs instead of for a party,” Jones said.

Jones, who married in June, is a senior banker with PNC Bank. He grew up in Riverside, where he attended Ames School, Hauser Junior High and Riverside-Brookfield High School, graduating in 2000. He has a bachelor’s degree in consumer economics and finance from the University of Illinois.

He and his wife, Michelle, have also started the nonprofit JM Foundation, which fields donations to purchase groceries for families in need. In 2009, Jones said, the foundation collected $2,000, which allowed it to “adopt” four Brookfield families and feed each family for a month.

The foundation was connected to the families through S.E. Gross Middle School and the village of Brookfield. This year Jones said the foundation is adopting four Brookfield families and one North Riverside family.