The city of Brookfield Finance Committee completed its review of the 2014 municipal budget proposal last week, sending the $79.23 million budget plan forward for Common Council approval.
Before lending its support to the document, the committee reviewed line items not addressed the previous week, including the capital improvements plan.
The proposed $6.2 million capital improvement budget for 2014 is up from about $4.1 million last year.
· $2.1 million for new concrete streets in the Northeast Industrial Area, between Capitol Drive and Burleigh Road
· $1.5 million to replace 14-year-old public safety radios
· about $1.2 million for stormwater projects, including road work, sewer improvements and pond dredging
· $500,000 for developing Lilly Heights Park, potentially with a soccer field, paths and parking lot
· $300,000 for developing the Greenway Corridor Trail System
· $500,000 for parking lot renovations to increase the number of parking stalls at the Brookfield Public Library
· $150,000 for bike paths, including one along North Avenue connecting Brookfield and Calhoun roads and one along Pilgrim Road connecting Burleigh and Pomona roads
Issue with 'sustainability'
Committee members had few issues with the municipal budget proposal, adding just one amendment to factor in a $20,000 federal grant for policing drunken driving.
Alderman Jerry Mellone offered one other amendment, which he subsequently withdrew, saying he would refer it to the Legislative and Licensing Committee. He wanted to remove references to sustainability because he was concerned about linking the city to the United Nations' Agenda 21, which includes stances on issues like global climate change that he doesn't agree with.
Other aldermen said "sustainability" is defined in enough detail in the budget as to not tie the city to other definitions.
"I'm having trouble linking these very specific local items with the global trend you reference," Alderman Scott Berg said.
Sustainability is one of nine guiding principles identified in the city's 2035 Comprehensive Plan, passed in 2009. Mayor Steve Ponto and department heads proposed several ways the city will implement sustainability in the 2014 budget, seeking environmental and economic efficiencies.
For example, the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce is promote sustainability in the private sector, the city will consider federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations in replacing its street sweeper, human resources will identify potential savings from Wisconsin Act 10, and department heads will work on succession planning to prepare for retirements.
Proud of budget proposal
The 2014 city budget proposal would raise the levy by 0.44 percent, the lowest increase in at least 23 years. The city is restricted by state levy limits that only allow the city to increase the levy to account for debt services and new construction.
"The 2014 budget is excellent, addresses problems Brookfield is facing and does a good job of controlling spending and taxes without reducing services," Mellone said before voting with other committee members to pass the budget.
There will be a public hearing on the budget next month, before the council will consider it. The proposed budget can be found on the city of Brookfield website, www.ci.brookfield.wi.us.
WHAT: public hearing on budget and possible adoption by Common Council
WHEN: 7:45 p.m. Nov. 19
WHERE: City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road
ONLINE: The budget proposal can be found on the city's website, www.ci.brookfield.wi.us.
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