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By Bob Uphues
Well, the Brookfield Village Board meeting on Monday night was a bit unusual in that it took place in the lobby of the building under the one light left burning when power went out in a nasty storm that blew through at about 6:10 p.m.
I was outside watching the low, black clouds roll in when there was a tremendous gust of wind that appeared the blow from the west, straight down the railroad tracks, bending the tall trees in South Kiwanis Park. That was when all went black inside the council chambers, which became unusable for the meeting, which was scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Instead, village board members, the village attorney, village manager, village engineer and deputy clerk gathered around the island (What is that thing anyway? It's not a table. It's like a big veneered cube.) in the lobby.
Maybe a dozen or so community members, including a couple of Eagle scouts, who were there to be recognized for achieving their ranks, and Brian Elwart, a new Beautification Commission member who took his oath of office in semi-darkness, scattered themselves throughout the lobby, trying not to trigger the electric eye that operates the automatic door.
Most of the public was there to talk about the village's flood prevention program, which the village board unanimously approved at the meeting. Among the complaints was that the approved plumbers list was not yet ready.
On resident said he already had one quote from a plumber and wanted to know why the village couldn't honor it or consider any plumber who is licensed and bonded with the village as a "preferred vendor."
Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said the list would be ready in a couple of weeks, but that the village would begin taking applications for the program as early as today.
As for the proposed pumping station slated eventually for the Washington/Prairie intersection, Village Engineer Derek Treichel said the engineering study for the station will be done by August and then presented to the village board, which has to decide whether to wait for grant funding or simply bite the bullet and put the cost (estimated at about $500,000) in the 2014 budget. There is money to fund the pumping station in the village's water and sewer enterprise fund.
One resident (things were pretty informal out there in the lobby, and no one who spoke gave his or her name) simply pleaded with the village to "do more" about flooding, which you could see was a frustrating request for village officials who were already pledging public dollars to help fund private improvements.
Village President Kit Ketchmark approached the request with a plea for patience and for residents to also have a realistic outlook.
"There are other things we need to look at and should look at, and we will, but we have to start somewhere on this," Ketchmark said. "Is this going to be the solution for everyone? No, but it's going to help a lot of households with that. So it's a start.
"When you get seven-and-a-half inches of rain in 18 hours after having all that rain the preceding two weeks, it's going to be tough to build things to accommodate that."
If you missed what all is involved in the village's flood prevention program you can read about it here and here. The second link is to the village board packet. The flood prevention program info begins on page 81.