Leaders in the city and town of Brookfield and village of Elm Grove will be focused on community development, maintaining services on tighter budgets, improving water systems and road construction in 2013.
NOW Newspapers recently asked Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto, town of Brookfield Administrator Richard Czopp and Elm Grove Village Manager Dave DeAngelis to name the top three issues and/or projects in their community for the coming year.
City of Brookfield
Ponto named maintaining city services on a changing city budget among the priorities for this year.
"As we plan for the future, it will become more challenging to maintain city services with the revenue constraints imposed by the state government," Ponto said. " I am determined to maintain Brookfield's Triple-A bond rating."
The city is limited by the state as to how much it can increase the tax levy, which may make maintaining city service levels more difficult.
The mayor listed development as a second major concern for the city.
"I will continue to promote high-quality development," he said. "This will increase our real estate tax base and provide services and employment to residents. I am particularly pleased with the new Underwood Crossing Shopping Center development, which turned an eyesore with abandoned build ings into a beautiful new shopping center."
Intergovernmental cooperation was his third biggest issue for the coming year.
"I will continue to push for cost savings and better service by entering into shared service arrangements," he said. "We need to work with our neighbors in ways that benefit both them and us."
The city recently reached an agreement with New Berlin about handling fires and medical emergencies near the border they share.
Town of Brookfield
Czopp named protecting the town's tax base among the top issues for 2013.
"We will work to maintain the feel of a small-town community while adhering to a fiscally conservative approach to local government," Czopp said. "The town of Brookfield has no debt, allowing for reinvestment in the town without raising taxes or compromising public services."
Czopp said a low, controlled tax rate coupled with a steadfast commitment to quality public services ensures the town will retain its high desirability and protect its tax base.
A second priority for the town, Czopp said, is working with developers and planners to maximize a state-funded tax-incremental financing district.
"Marcus Corp.'s The Corners remains front and center, but the opportunities for quality redevelopment for the Bluemound corridor will impact our community" Czopp said.
As Marcus Corp. works to secure more tenants, the town is trying to guarantee that The Corners will be profitable enough to pay off the town's debt within 16 years, as required by state law.
The town will continue its effort to attain village status, Czopp said.
"Village status would stabilize the tax base. It would also create opportunities to work with our neighboring communities on a more equal footing when discussing future planning and redevelopment," Czopp said.
Czopp said that working together as equals with common goals will produce positive results.
Village of Elm Grove
DeAngelis named the new water main system being built to service a new senior-living center at 800 Wall Street among the top projects of 2013.
"There is no municipal water currently in the village of Elm Grove," DeAngelis said. "This will be our first piece of public water main."
Although the water main is being installed to service the senior-living facility, village residents can elect to connect to it.
A second major project for the village is repairing the Watertown Plank Road bridge that crosses Underwood Creek, DeAngelis said.
A recent inspection found severe cracks and pieces of the bridge falling into the creek below.
"We'll be meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in two weeks to see what the options are for repair," DeAngelis said.
The third top project for the village is to repair damaged sewer laterals for homeowners.
"We'll be working to repair the sewer laterals, hoping to take care of the ones in worst shape first," DeAngelis said.
A study done in November found more than half the 76 laterals inspected have moderate or major leaks.
Repairs will be funded through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Private Property Inflow Infiltration Reduction Program.
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