By Bob Uphues
The village of Brookfield early next month will issue $6 million in bonds to fund residential side street improvements over the next two years – the third and final bond sale the village has conducted since voters approved a $22 million bond referendum in 2016.
Brookfield Finance Director Doug Cooper indicated the bond sale will be conducted on Feb. 4 and the village will get the proceeds immediately. The next round of improvements, a roughly $4.4 million project that will address streets in the Hollywood section and a few other blocks north of the BFSF tracks, is scheduled to start this spring.
After a smaller project is wrapped in 2021, the village will have resurfaced or reconstructed roughly 15.3 miles of residential side streets, or roughly 37 percent of the village's 41 miles of streets.
The bond sale in February will also mean that beginning next year Brookfield homeowners and commercial property owners will begin seeing the full brunt of the $22 million bond issue on property tax bills for the first time.
Brookfield officials conducted three separate bond issues to spread out the financial hit to property owners and also spread out work over a six-year period to lessen the disruption.
The first bond issue, in 2016 just after the successful referendum, was the largest at $9 million with an annual debt service payment from the village in the $1 million range.
A second bond issue in 2018, for $7 million, added about $900,000 annually to that earlier debt service. This year's bond issue of $6 million will add roughly another $740,000 to the total, bringing next year's total debt service payment on the bond issues to about $2.5 million.
Since 2017, village taxpayers have seen the impact of that debt service obligation as a line item on their property tax bills. And they'll feel the full weight of that debt service during the next six years, until the first bond sale retires in 2026.
The tax hit will be relieved some more in 2028 when the second bond issue is retired and will see the debt retired completely in 2030.
Unless the village decides to seek another referendum to keep a rolling fund available for future road improvements, 2030 should provide some relief for taxpayers, especially in Proviso Township and in the southwest quarter of the village, where homeowners are also being hit with higher taxes due to successful referendums for local school districts.