Bolstered by an infusion of federal COVID-19 relief funds, the village of Brookfield expects to end 2021 with a general operating fund surplus of nearly $1.3 million, and with another $1.2 million payment from the federal government due next year, officials are predicting another large cash surplus in 2022.
Despite that windfall, Village Manager Timothy Wiberg told elected officials at their 2022 budget workshop on Nov. 4 that even without that federal relief Brookfield would still have ended 2021 in the black.
“What we’ve done over the last three years has set the village up to be in this position where there’s some encouraging news,” said Wiberg. “Yes, the [federal relief funds] certainly will help, but I really want to get across the reality that 2022 looks to be the most positive fiscal year since the village, at least since I’ve been part of the process.”
Wiberg was hired as village manager in the latter half of 2018, a year in which the village posted a general operating deficit of more than $500,000. In response the village board in 2019 approved a raft of fee increase, from vehicle stickers to business licenses, parking tickets and ambulance charges.
Those actions cut the general fund deficit drastically in 2019, and in 2020 the village posted a surplus. The good news in 2021 was that revenues by the end of the year are predicted to come in at about $1.9 million higher than budgeted, while expenditures are expected to come in just $50,000 over budget.
In the preliminary budget presented to the village board on Nov. 4, revenues in 2022 are estimated at about $22.2 million, a 6-percent increase year over year. Expenditures for 2022 are estimated at $21,587,481, a 14-percent increase year over year.
Among the large expenditures included in the 2022 preliminary budget are the purchase of a new quint truck (a combination ladder truck/pumper) for the fire department. The estimated $1.25 million cost for the truck, which will replace two older vehicles in the fleet, will be funded largely through an $800,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and federal COVID-19 relief proceeds.
Management has also included in the 2022 budget about $1.8 million in capital expenditures, including the replacement of three vehicles in the police department and three trucks in the public works department.
Other police department capital expenses include the second installment for a five-year plan to fund body cameras for all police officers, renovating the police records room and buying new video cameras for police squad cars, a five-year program that comes at a total cost of about $81,000.
Another public safety-related expenditure identified in the preliminary budget is about $183,000 to upgrade and expand the village’s security camera system. Rolled out in 2018 with 10 cameras mounted at key intersections and in some parks, the system needs a storage capacity upgrade and is becoming obsolete, according to a new IT Strategic Plan published by the village in October.
Assistant Village Manager George Issakoo told trustees in Nov. 4 that funds were being budgeted to not only upgrade existing cameras but expand their presence throughout the village at key locations, including village-owned buildings.
There’s also about $200,000 set aside in the budget to remodel three bathrooms at village hall, one in the police department and two on the main level of the village hall.
About 20 years ago one of the bathrooms on the main floor was converted into a closet, leaving the public use of one bathroom. Wiberg said he believed it was possible to renovate those spaces into two separate facilities again.
Another $100,000 will go toward shoring up the steel roof trusses at the public works facility at 4545 Eberly Ave. now that the building has a water-tight roof, installed this year.
The budget also includes about $50,000 for additional repairs to the Congress Park train station, where the village this year built a new parking lot and did some repairs to the platform.
While the $22 million in bond proceeds that have funded residential street repairs since 2016 has now been expended, Brookfield plans to repairs a little less than a mile of residential side streets in 2022 at a cost of about $2.5 million. There’s also a roughly $715,000 line item in the budget to replace about 1,000 feet of water main on 26th Place from Maple Avenue to Forestview Avenue.
While there are no new full-time jobs included in the 2022 budget, it does propose hiring a second part-time community service officer, which will allow the village to have someone doing parking enforcement at night and on the weekends.
The roughly $30,000 expense is expected to be offset by additional parking ticket revenue estimated at $50,000.
Wiberg also has included $18,000 in the budget for the village to hire an administrative intern. These part-time interns typically are drawn from master’s degree students in Northern Illinois University’s public administration program. The intern, said Wiberg, likely would be assigned to the fire department.