Just when you thought you had all of the upcoming referendums lined up straight, you get an announcement out of the blue.
That’s what happened Monday night, when Brookfield’s village manager proposed a $2.5 million increase in annual property taxes to fund a street improvement program that can keep up with the rate at which streets are deteriorating.
And the question will be in front of voters at the ballot box before you know it — the village is pushing for a March 2016 vote.
That, of course, will do no favors for the Brookfield Public Library’s board of trustees, which has been planning, meticulously, for a referendum since about 2008. That board has hired a consultant to handle carefully planned out information forums, the first of which comes next week, and has put together what looks to be the foundation of a committee to push for referendum passage.
By all appearances, the library was planning to place a question on the fall 2016 ballot. Coming on the heels of the village’s question — which asks residents to raise their property taxes by about $400 a year — it could be a killer for the library’s chances eight months later. Or, should the village fail in its bid, it could serve as a preview of what the library can expect.
Those are just two referendums likely to confront Brookfield voters who live in Proviso Township. There are two others hanging on the horizon. Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 has been making noises about a referendum to build a new school and undertake a major renovation of S.E. Gross Middle School.
And there’s always Riverside-Brookfield High School, which has been murmuring about a referendum to increase general operating revenues for almost a decade.
Yes, Brookfield voters will have a lot to contemplate during the next 12 months — how much do they want to pay to improve roads, invest in a new library and still save room to address schools bursting at the seams.
There are going to be a lot of hard choices being made in the village, and very soon.