Brookfield’s village board on Dec. 8 voted unanimously to pass its 2015 budget, which estimates operating expenditures of about $15.7 million, an increase over expenditures in 2014 by about 2.5 percent.

Revenues in the general fund, meanwhile, are expected to be $16,825,710, an increase by less than 1 percent compared to estimated revenues for 2014. 

In the general fund, which pays for the day-to-day operating expenses of the village — such as salaries for employees in village hall, public works and police and fire department — the budget predicts revenues coming in $22,620 ahead of expenditures in 2015. 

That would leave the general fund reserve fund at about $2.5 million by the end of 2015. In addition, the 2015 budget includes another $300,000 transfer from the general fund to the special reserve fund, which serves as the village’s emergency cash reserve fund. Money from that fund can only be spent with a two-third vote by the village board.

By the end of 2015, the special reserve fund is expected to stand at about $1.7 million, which is nearly halfway to the village board’s goal for that fund, $3.5 million.

Among the major public works projects the village expects to undertake in 2015 are $1.2 million in residential street improvements, including some related improvements to water and sewer lines.

In January, the village board is expected to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to construct a pump station and storm water detention areas near the Forest Avenue/Washington Avenue intersection to reduce flooding in that area.

The total cost of that project is estimated to be almost $2 million, three-quarters of which is being funded through the MWRD.

In addition, Brookfield will continue its flood-mitigation program in 2015. Trustees have agreed to set aside at least $100,000 in village funds to help pay for the cost of installing flood-control systems at residential properties. That amount could be increased to $200,000, if necessary.

After many years, according to Village Manager Keith Sbiral, Brookfield will attempt to launch a pilot program to use green construction methods to pave residential alleys. With a balance of more than $600,000 in its garbage fund, Brookfield plans on using a portion of that to fund engineering and legal costs for alleys. Property owners would still need to agree to form a special assessment area to fund construction of the alleys.

Sbiral said he’d like to complete five or six alleys in 2015. 

“We’ll contact folks who have submitted petitions in the past,” said Sbiral. “But those petitions will have to be resubmitted.”

The village board is expected to take up the topic of the pilot program in January, since it will take several months to identify alleys, create the special assessments and finish design work.

Personnel costs are expected to rise about 3 percent in 2015 for the village. Part of that increase is the result of a major restructuring of the Building and Planning Department. 

Sbiral is in the process of hiring a community and economic development director to oversee the department and essentially serve as the No. 2 administrator inside village hall.

The village has already hired a planner and a permit services coordinator, who will serve to expedite the permitting and inspection process for builders and developers.

As a result, full-time salaried personnel costs in the building department will rise to $185,530 in 2015, compared to $72,600 in 2014, an increase of 150 percent.

However, that increase in the building department will be offset, said Sbiral, in the village manager’s office. Sbiral said he is not hiring an assistant village manager. Although the 2015 budget line item for salaries in the manager’s office only reflects an $11,000 difference from 2014, Sbiral said the savings will be greater than that.

“These numbers are worked on in July and August before [Ginex] ever resigned,” Sbiral said. “I didn’t finalize the role of my replacement until a few weeks ago. So [the] budget [line item for village management salaries] is overfunded for 2015.

“There won’t be any additional bodies there. We still have fewer positions; they are just much more matched to the needs of the village, particularly in community and economic development. And next year overall costs will be much reduced for personnel.”  

The budget also includes $60,000 for the purchase of two police squad cars and $60,000 for the purchase of a rescue boat for the fire department.

There is also $20,000 set aside in the budget for the construction of a handicapped-accessible boat launch on Salt Creek behind the village hall. The village has sought a grant to fund the majority of the cost for the boat launch.

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