Four years ago, the voters of Brookfield entrusted me to help make important decisions for our community. Much has been accomplished since being elected: the creation of multiyear budgets, a capital and infrastructure plan, the reconstruction of both Ehlert and Kiwanis Parks, an overhaul of the building code, hiring of a new village manager and the creation of the position of community and economic development director, to name a few.
I have found that there are many issues that arise in municipal government, but they all come back to one topic: finances.
The board and myself have worked hard to wisely allocate the tax dollars the residents entrust us with. There are hard decisions to make. Municipal funds are coming under attack on multiple fronts.
Newly elected Governor Rauner has recently proposed limiting the state funding Brookfield receives. This would result in a loss of over $900,000 to the village’s $15 million budget.
Pension costs continue to rise across the state. Just 10 years ago, our required payments were $560,000, today they stand at $2 million. While other municipalities choose not to fund these pensions, we do. We do not believe in “kicking the can down the road.”
We have made tough decisions to ensure the future stability of Brookfield. Under PEP’s leadership, we have been able to balance the budget and build cash reserves, helping to build the credit worthiness of the village.
This has helped us restructure old debts and pay less interest on those debts. In just five years, we have taken the village’s debt from almost $20 million dollars to close to $10 million.
Building reserves, decreasing the debt, and still able to move forward and get improvement projects done. We have been able to accomplish this because of a thoughtful focus on finances and long-term planning. This planning has enabled Brookfield to obtain $4.8 million of grant funding in just the past 18 months.
You will hear other parties talk about raising your property taxes 25 percent to pay for improvements around town. You will hear about an idea our opponents have to borrow $30 million dollars to fix our streets.
Ask them how they plan to pay back that debt, there is no answer. Numbers like that are simply not realistic at this time. The housing market in Brookfield is recovering and hampering that would be unwise. As PEP cuts debt, our opponents want to triple it. That is change our village cannot afford.
I have been proud to serve the people of the village of Brookfield these past four years. We have been able to improve our village and move it forward. Making sure it is a strong community for future generations, including my own three daughters, drives me each day in making the decisions that make us a better village.
With your support, I hope to continue making these decisions for our community for the next four years with my fellow PEP candidates, who have the experience, dedication and trust to serve Brookfield well.
Ryan P. Evans is a Brookfield village trustee running for re-election on April 7.