The Brookfield Village Board is poised to approve its 2019 operating budget at its next meeting on Feb. 25 after trustees approved increasing the cost of various fees, licenses and fines to help close a large deficit.
The fee hikes on their own won’t be enough this year to do that completely, so the village will again make a $600,000 transfer from its motor fuel tax fund to the general fund to balance the general operating fund.
“The goal is to wean ourselves off of [that MFT transfer] in future years,” said Village Manager Timothy Wiberg at the village board’s Feb. 11 meeting.
Last month, Wiberg targeted the village’s recent practice of using MFT funds to balance its operating budget as unsustainable. In response, he asked village trustees to approve a host of fee and fine increases, several of which were passed by the village board on Feb. 11.
The hikes included increasing the cost of a passenger car vehicle sticker from $40 to $50 in order to increase funding for annual street maintenance and allow MFT funds to accumulate for larger street improvement efforts.
Also among the increases was a 50-percent increase in business license fees and the imposition of a $300 business license fee for restaurants and other food service establishments. The latter fee will now fully cover the cost of semi-annual health inspections.
Parking ticket fines are going up from $35 to $50 and the village will also increase its ambulance fees. Basic life support services will be billed at a rate of $1,000 per ride, up from $750. Meanwhile, advanced life support services will be billed at a rate of $1,400, up from $1,000.
The village will maintain its policy of not charging Brookfield residents for any more than insurance companies reimburse the village.
Brookfield will also raise its contractor license fee by 50 percent to support initiatives within the code enforcement department.
In all, those fee increases will generate approximately $350,000 in revenue in 2019, officials believe.
Those won’t be the last bite at the revenue apple this year. On Feb. 19, after the Landmark’s press time, Wiberg was to meet with the owners of the village’s restaurants and bars to press the case for imposing a 1-percent places-of-eating tax.
The goal of that session, Wiberg said, was to educate business owners on the need for the tax and how it would be administered. State law allows municipalities to impose the tax by a simple vote of the village board. Such a tax would bring in about $200,000, Wiberg estimated.
In addition, the village board is expected to raise liquor license fees, which haven’t been adjusted in many years.
The $18.1 million general operating budget includes 2.7-percent raises for non-union village staff, matching the base pay raises of Brookfield’s union employees.
Key capital expenditures in the 2019 budget include spending $100,000 to purchase self-contained breathing apparatuses for firefighters. That expense could be offset by a grant, if the village’s application is successful.
The budget includes a $70,000 line item to purchase two police squad vehicles, $50,000 for a consultant to study a potential downtown TIF district and amend the Eight Corners TIF map, $25,000 in village hall IT improvements, $20,000 to rehab the former police dispatch control room and $26,000 to install a new village hall phone system.
In addition, the budget calls for spending $50,000 to join the GIS Consortium, where local Chicago-area governments combine “to share resources, information, staffing, and technology so that municipalities can optimize the value of geographic information systems,” according to the consortium’s website.
Two partially grant-funded projects include spending $60,000 for a new roof at the Prairie Avenue Metra station, half of which will be paid by Metra.
Also, covered bike racks will be installed at both the Prairie Avenue and Congress Park train stations at a cost of $222,000. Brookfield’s share of that cost will amount to about $42,000. The remainder is being funded by grants from the state of Illinois and the Regional Transportation Authority.
The village’s eight-year street improvement campaign hits its halfway point in 2019 with the improvement of Broadway Avenue and several residential streets north of 31st Street.