The Village of Brookfield is proposing a lean but balanced budget for 2011 that covers the essentials but does not invest a great deal in the future village, officials say.

“It’s kind of a bare-bones budget, but we’re meeting all of our obligations,” Village President Michael Garvey said at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting when the budget was outlined. “Not a lot of discretionary spending. All our debt service is being paid. All our pension obligations are being paid. All our employees are being paid. It’s really just focusing on core services.”

The budget, which is being finalized this month, is projected to total about $13,910,935 in the general fund, an increase of 2.54 percent over the previous fiscal year. Including all funds, the budget will be about $25,443,015, an increase of 4.75 percent over the previous year, according to Doug Cooper, head of Brookfield’s Finance Department.

The budget calls for the purchase of a new ambulance for the fire department, a new street sweeper for the public works department and leasing three new police cars.

The budget, which will be adopted as a policy document later this month, also calls for funding the second phase of the Grand Boulevard improvement project.

Continuing to rebuild cash reserves, the budget calls for adding $300,000 in reserves to the general fund in 2011 after the village added about $300,000 this year. In 2008, the village’s cash reserves fell to nearly zero.

“We want reserves to eventually be 25 percent of total operating expenditures,” Cooper said. “We want it to be about $3 million.”

Cooper estimated it would take 6-8 years to reach the $3 million figure.

Garvey is happy about building the reserves back up in tough economic times.

“The reserve contribution was another big thing that I was proud was in there,” he said.

Brookfield Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral, however, warned the village board last week that the budget was geared toward just getting through tough times and not geared toward preparing for the future.

“We are not preparing ourselves for the next 10 years,” Sbiral said. “This is very much a stop-gap budget to get us through 2011 and 2012. It’s two years of maintenance essentially and not a lot of growth or capital expenditures.”

Cooper said the village is forecasting a 1 percent increase in income tax revenue from the state. Pension fund contributions will be 3-5 percent lower than this year because of good investment returns in 2010.

Village board member Michael Towner said the village should consider asking voters to approve a tax hike referendum.

“We need more revenue,” Towner said last week. “We need to bite the bullet and seriously consider a tax referendum.”

Towner said that if the village does not eventually raise taxes, he fears that police officers and firefighters will eventually have to be laid off.

Cooper recommended increasing garbage rates by about 10 percent because current rates, which were increased last summer to $75.87 every three months for homeowners, are not keeping pace with costs.

The garbage fund needed a $102,000 transfer from the general fund to remain solvent this year.

Last summer’s fee increase did not cover dumping fees, Cooper said.

“I didn’t set it high enough to cover the costs outside of Groot [the village’s private waste hauler],” Cooper said. “We based our rates on their contact in previous years and other costs were not covered. The other major costs within that fund are the dumping fees charged by the West Cook County Solid Waste Agency.”

Cooper said he hopes the village board will vote to raise the garbage fees in January or February.