The last couple of months the Brookfield village board, led by Kit Ketchmark and Mike Garvey, have had a series of presentations about capital programs. They had an overview of some of the items that are capital projects, i.e. police cars, fire equipment, engines, ambulance and street and sewer replacement.

They were then given the new street survey (2013) for the entire village. You may be interested to know that there is almost $31 million of street replacement needs right now. One of the last presentations was the village financials and what funds can be dedicated to these capital projects, possibly about 1.5 million a year. That is to keep up with everything new equipment and street and sewer replacement. Let’s not forget the emergencies that arise every year that need to be handled also.

There are just a couple of flaws in the process here. First, during discussion and the most recent election, Garvey mentioned using motor fuel tax revenue for the next round of street repairs, which Ketchmark echoed.

Problem with this is I would not trust any revenue source that goes through the state’s hands first before coming to Brookfield. They are trying to fix the pension/revenue crisis in Springfield and have been looking at grabbing any revenue they can.

Next, over the past few years this revenue source has been going down, not up, as technology and people’s use has changed. More fuel-efficient cars, electric vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles are being used more and more every year.

This source will continue to decrease. The tone of discussion has been and will continue to be, “Boy, we have a lot of needs, but we just can’t do anything more.” They are setting it up to tell the public that nothing new can be done.

But the most discouraging observation during these presentations was the lack of discussion to find a solution to the problem. The problem is, in 2001 we had $21.9 million in street replacement needs at that time. In 2013, we now have almost $31 million in street replacement needs. We are not even keeping pace; our village is deteriorating and our village board is not even looking for a solution.

Well, then again, they may be, but it would be in Cathy Edwards’ kitchen or Garvey’s living room; I know because I have been in those types of meetings before. They need to have this discussion in public about how to stop the decline and turn around our deteriorating village.

One possible path forward would be to set your 15-year goal for street reconstruction needs, say going from the $31 million of today down to the $22 million that it was in 2001.

Now you have your primary village goal, and staff can estimate what resources would be needed to reach that goal. With that they would need to estimate the resources needed to maintain the street repair needs that would occur over the 15 years and include this estimate of decline.

They would need to look at the useful life of all the village equipment to determine replacement needs and add this to the list. Now you would have a needs analysis for the village which you could then start to discuss different solutions to achieve.

Determine which path or solution will best meet that 15-year goal and now set your one- and five-year goals to achieve that 15-year goal. If the board determines more resources are needed, present this to the public for their approval and move forward to put our village in better condition.

Our village board needs to stop making excuses and start doing the real work that will make Brookfield at least what it was. Give our village a chance for a better future.

Michael Towner is a Brookfield resident and former village trustee.