By Bob Uphues
The village of Brookfield has launched a one-stop portal where Brookfield residents and prospective residents can quickly and easily find out information about the places where they live or are looking to live – from property records to property tax information and zoning details, state and federal government representation, school district and legislative district maps and more.
The Brookfield Community Portal, which can be found online by clicking here, launched June 16 and is part of a much larger Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping tool that will also be used extensively by village staff to streamline work flow and aid in planning.
A link to the portal can also be found on the village of Brookfield website, by clicking "Address Search" under the "About" tab.
"All of the information is publicly accessible, but what's cool is that it's in one spot, with easy-to-read maps," said Assistant Village Manager George Issakoo, who is leading the onboarding process in conjunction with an analyst assigned to the village by Municipal GIS Partners (MGP).
MGP is the vendor for the GIS Consortium, a partnership of more than 30 suburban Chicago municipalities, which share resources and technology to electronically organize public data.
Brookfield sought to join the GIS Consortium last summer as officials planned for the 2020 budget. Municipalities are charged an annual membership fee, which pays for an analyst to work onsite in Brookfield one day a week.
According to Issakoo, the village budgeted $50,000 dollars to be part of the GIS Consortium.
Of that amount, "$42,000 is the allocation charge based the actual service provided and the additional amount was onboarding costs for licensing and hardware," he said.
Village staff will prioritize tasks for the analyst, including larger data mapping projects like sewer and water line maps, street light, street sign and public tree inventories. But the analyst also might be tasked to complete special projects – a village-produced map of Brookfield restaurants offering carryout and curbside service during the pandemic was one such example.
While the GIS mapping will be of particular use to the Public Works Department as a comprehensive warehouse for storing data related to public infrastructure, other departments might also benefit from access to the tool.
The police department might use the system for crime mapping or to help plan operations. The fire department could use it for pre-planning purposes for incidents at high-profile locations like Brookfield Zoo.
"Finance and community development might like to connect projects and permits and feed that information into GIS so there's interplay," Issakoo said.
While staff interactions with GIS will play out behind the scenes, the public can use the Brookfield Community Portal to get answers to questions that might otherwise take some hunting on the web.
Type your address into the portal's search field and you'll get a screen with information on trash pickup and links to more detailed property and school district records.
Other tabs on that page will take you to information on government representation, local zoning information and a breakdown of how your property tax dollars are spent. There is also a tab that will take you a map gallery, showing school and legislative district boundaries, a FEMA flood map and other easy-to-read maps for Brookfield and other members of the GIS Consortium.