By Bob Uphues
Following a three-hour workshop earlier this month to get direction from elected officials, Brookfield's village government staff unveiled a 2020 budget at the village board's committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 25, outlining a host of capital projects as well as a couple of initiatives for raising additional revenue for operations.
Trustees are expected to adopt the budget at their meeting on Dec. 9. Later, the board will pass an appropriations ordinance, which sets the legal spending authority for village government. That ordinance typically mirrors the budget adopted by the village board.
The budget that will be adopted next month shows expenditures in the general operating fund at about $18.3 million, outpacing revenues by about $200,000. However, after interfund transfers, including $600,000 from the motor fuel tax fund to the general fund, the 2020 budget predicts a slight surplus for general operations by the end of next year.
Village Manager Tim Wiberg said that while he would prefer not making a transfer from the motor fuel tax fund to help pay for operating costs related to street maintenance, it was unavoidable in the short term.
But, he said, the 2020 budget represents movement toward that goal. Last year's operating budget deficit before interfund transfers was closer to $600,000.
"It's progress," Wiberg told village trustees at the Nov. 14 budget workshop.
The budget includes a number of key new/ongoing and one-time expenditures from the general operating fund, which pays the day-to-day expenses of the village.
The village will hire a new full-time recreation supervisor for the Department of Parks and Recreation, which largely has been a one-person operation since Recreation Director Stevie Ferrari was hired about a year and a half ago.
The expense line item for salary and benefits is expected to be $75,000, according to the budget document.
Since that time, Ferrari has expanded the department's program offerings and events. Continuing as a solo act isn't sustainable, Wiberg said. While the department employs a part-time staff, that person's time is spent mostly as an instructor for the department's preschool program.
"I don't think it's sustainable that [Ferrari] continues doing what she's been doing," Wiberg said, adding he'd like to see even more recreation programs and partnerships developed to benefit residents.
The village has also budgeted $64,000 to buy two new police squad cars, with a third vehicle being funded through proceeds the police department has set aside in its seizure/forfeiture fund.
Another $50,000 has been earmarked to rehabilitate the police department's bathroom and locker room facilities, which mainly haven't been touched since the present village hall was built in the 1970s.
One of the largest capital expenditures out of the general fund next year will be $260,000 to replace the roof of the Brookfield Public Works building on the village's south end as well as the roof over a structure next door to it, which houses public works equipment, signs and other items.
Two other large items are a $100,000 line item to buy the fire department new self-contained breathing units and $100,000 to replace the village's alley grader. The present grader is only a couple of years old, but it is too big and difficult to maneuver in the village's narrow gravel alleys.
The village's plan is to trade in the grader and buy a smaller vehicle that's easier to handle. The village also owns another older, smaller alley grader which still can be used in tandem with the new grader.
The village will continue its bond-funded road improvement effort in 2020, and plans to issue the remaining bonds early next year as that campaign winds down by the end of 2021.
Brookfield is also planning some significant expenditures within its three existing tax increment financing districts, including earmarking $200,000 for both the Eight Corners and Ogden Avenue TIFs to fund a façade improvement incentive program.
The village also plans to use $100,000 in TIF funds to pay for an Ogden Avenue land-use study, and will use TIF funds to pay for the roughly $340,000 first phase of a makeover to the area immediately south of the Congress Park train station.
Also at Eight Corners, the village hopes to use a $250,000 state grant in conjunction with TIF funds to replace the fountain at the Veterans Memorial Circle, a project estimated to cost a total of $320,000.
Brookfield officials also hope to obtain a $340,000 open space grant from the state to help fund a complete renovation of Candy Cane Park on the village's north end. The $680,000 total cost for that project would be spread over two years.
In 2019, the village instituted a host of fee and fine increases, which brought in an additional $400,000 to help ease the budget crunch this year.
In order to help balance the 2020 budget, the village plans to impose a 2 cent-per-gallon local tax on the sale of gasoline, which is expected to bring in an estimated $100,000 in additional revenue.
The village also has sought permission from Metra to increase its daily commuter parking fee from $1.50 to $2, which would bring in about $36,000 in new revenue.