Imagine that, the Brookfield “PEP” village board now says the time is right to raise our taxes. Yet they vilified me when I thought the question should have been addressed eight years ago.
This was their plan all along; remember when I told everyone that Mike Garvey, in his living room, told the entire village board at that time to “pass on a referendum question now, but we will have to probably go for a large increase later”? He must have finally made up his mind, and the PEP village board is doing as they are told.
This is the problem with this administration; they can’t be trusted to tell the public the truth. For political reasons the question was put off before, and the timing for the quick boost is so they can put in their literature for the next election how much work is getting done before you see the effects on your tax bill; smart timing on Garvey’s part.
This is not only a local problem over the decades but also at the state level. If increases would have been done incrementally over the years, the need now may not have to be this extreme. Waiting has cost us more money.
There are other options, but the village does need the revenue. Another option would be to have a referendum question on general obligation bonds for $14 million for this purpose to be paid back in 10 years.
Use this for a street program added to the current amount allocated, now of around $1 million, and set a work/construction schedule for seven to eight years. Once the bonds are paid off, again ask the residents to continue the program and continue rolling over these bonds.
This option makes every board accountable for the work being performed during their time on the board and justifies the expense. This would also be a cost that would be more controlled and limiting the increase to that specific improvement.
By adding a property tax increase from the village, that would be part of the yearly tax increase this administration has done every year, even when they put out how they are “holding the line on taxes.”
As a question of trust they should have told the public about that also; this increase will go up each and every year. The only time it would be $2.5 million would be the first year.
The village does need the revenue, but is this the correct mechanism for the village and the residents? Where was the board discussion on how to do this work before announcing this decision? Where was the discussion on different options? Maybe, that happened in Garvey’s living room.
Michael Towner is a former Brookfield village trustee.