Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: Village of Brookfield Trustee
Previous political experience: None
Occupation: Retired Brookfield Police Sergeant (28 years)
Education: Steinmetz High School (1973)
Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command (1997)
What can the village realistically do to promote and encourage economic development, and where should those efforts be focused? How can village government help promote what essentially is private investment?
It appears that for several years the village has been looking for a big box retailer to come to town and solve all of its financial problems. While this could happen, I think that we need to look in a different direction. We need to look at the villages strong points and work from there. An example would be the Metra commuter line. It stops at three locations in the village. Mixed-use buildings in close proximity to the commuter line would provide housing and retail space. Which in turn would bring property tax and sales tax revenues, as well as attract people with expendable income.
It is also important that every commercial area of the village be included in any kind of promotion.
A more extensive use of social media is necessary. While it is used on a limited basis now, it should be in the hands of the village staff and not elected officials.
The village has reacted to local flooding in recent years by instituting a flood-mitigation program and has taken steps to build a pump station at Forest and Washington. Has the village’s response to local flooding been adequate? What else can or should be done to help prevent floods from harming residents and their properties?
Flooding has been occurring in various areas of the village for the past several years. Only within the past few years has the damage become so devastating that the village has been forced to take action. The Flood Mitigation Program along with the pumping station and the downspout disconnection ordinance are a start in the right direction. However, it does not appear that the solution to the problem lies totally in the hands of the village. It should be shared between the county, state and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. These entities should be looking at why the areas in Brookfield and its surrounding communities have suddenly become a flood zone. Part of the problem could lie in the building boom of the last several years. We continue to build and yet fail to increase the size of the storm drains. More buildings, more streets and never an increase in the size or quantity of the storm drains.
The village had adopted an Open Space Plan and has made significant improvements to Kiwanis and Ehlert parks in recent years. What are your thoughts on those improvements and how should additional improvements be approached and funded?
I agree with the villages’ master plan to “seek opportunities for the acquisition and developments of parks and recreation amenities”. The Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Program (OSLAD) has been instrumental in grants for the village and I would hope it continues. I would like to see the recreation department become a Park District, a separate entity. A Park District that is totally separate from the village would allow it to be responsible for its own future and not be at the whims of the village board. I realize this is not something that can be done overnight and could take several years.
How should Brookfield fund and schedule necessary repairs to streets and other infrastructure?
A comprehensive inspection process of all surface streets and video inspections of the sewer systems should be done on a biennial basis. The streets and sewers determined to be the worse should be the first repaired. Funding for these projects should be done by seeking out any state and federal grants as well as long term budgeting for the major road and sewer projects.
Are there areas where the village could be providing better service to residents? How? Should the village increase or decrease funding for certain services, programs and capital improvements? Why or why not?
I have had the opportunity to work for and live in this community for the past 35 years. I have to be honest and say that this village provides some of the best services in the area. As employees we were always held to a higher standard and urged to do more with less, and as things became economically difficult we continued. I would never be in favor of cutting any emergency services to save money. However, the trend toward combining some services with other villages could be a big money saver. As an example, combining police and fire dispatch services is a recent trend that has proven to be cost effective.
What I have heard most when speaking with residents is what they consider to be an attitude of indifference from employees when having to deal with the village. They are tired of having to contact elected officials to solve problems or have questions answered that should be done at the staff level. Customer service training would be a step in the right direction. We can hope that the recent changes at the village hall will solve this problem.
Another common complaint is the lack of openness surrounding the village board. Why do they only talk when an election is near? It would be a significant step forward to televise the village board meetings. The current posted audio recordings do not meet the needs of the residents.
The residents of Brookfield deserve a transparent government that is open minded and serves all of the people!
What is the most important issue facing the village in the next four years? What should be done about it? What other issues do you feel will be important for the next village board to address? How should they be addressed?
As with most villages, the most important issue is money. Where do we get it and how do we spend it? Our infrastructure is aging, and will need to be replaced or repaired. While our traditional sources of revenue will continue to fund the village, we must always be looking for creative ways to find other sources. We could do this through bond issues, short term borrowing and even temporary tax hikes as a last resort.