The Brookfield Village Board on Dec. 12 approved the village’s 2017 operating budget, which estimates operating revenues coming about $9,000 ahead of expenditures in the village’s general fund, which pays for day-to-day expenses such as salaries and benefits.
In January the village board will vote to pass its 2017 appropriations ordinance, which is the legal authorization for spending. For the past decade or so, the appropriations ordinance has mirrored expenditures outlined in the operating budget.
The budget estimates the village will spend about $17 million on general operations in 2017, an increase of about 6 percent over 2016’s estimated final expenditures of $15.9 million.
About 35 percent of that increase comes in the form of higher costs for police and fire protection. And more than half of the increase comes in the form of capital purchases, which in 2017 include $250,000 for a new ambulance and $110,000 in IT system upgrades.
The increases in public safety spending are being driven by pension obligations. Brookfield will pay more than $2.8 million into the police and fire pension funds in 2017, representing 16 percent of total operating expenditures.
In 2017, the village’s contribution for police pensions will rise by $275,538 and fire pension obligations will increase by $77,763.
To give a sense of the impact of pension obligations, the village has levied $2,850,782 in property taxes next year to cover pension obligations, an increase over last year’s levy of almost 13 percent.
The village’s total property tax levy for next year, which the village board also passed Dec. 12, amounts to $8,271,593. That means almost 35 percent of all property taxes collected in Brookfield to fund village operations in 2017 will go toward pension obligations.
As a result, the village’s tax levy to fund general operations in 2017 is virtually the same as its levy last year.
Despite the tight budget, Brookfield will continue its ambitious street improvement program in 2017, courtesy of the $22 million bond referendum passed in 2016 by voters.
Bond proceeds will fund $5.2 million in about 2.75 miles of residential street improvements throughout the village in 2017. There will be about $1.8 in sewer and water system projects related to those street improvements.
In addition, Brookfield will use motor fuel taxes to resurface Custer Avenue north of Ogden as part of a joint project with the village of Lyons. It also will use a $200,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to resurface the 3100 and 3200 blocks of Raymond Avenue.
Other capital improvements to be completed in 2017 include $345,500 in upgrades (mostly grant-funded) around the Prairie Avenue train station and $85,000 (also mostly grant funded) to construct a canoe launch at Kiwanis Park.
In addition to the ambulance and IT upgrades, the budget calls for purchasing two police squad cars ($60,000) and spending $76,000 for public works equipment. There will also be some expense, about $45,000, to make changes in the police department lobby related the coming WC3 consolidated dispatch center.
Village Manager Keith Sbiral also indicated that there is enough money in the village’s garbage fund to fund legal and engineering costs for a limited “green” alley construction program.
Construction costs, however, would be borne by residents of blocks who vote in favor of paving their alleys. The village has also budgeted $275,000 for general street maintenance and for filling two public works positions vacant since 2009.