The town of Brookfield's proposed 2012-13 budget includes changing the assistant fire chief's job from part- to full-time at an additional cost of $40,000, including benefits.
The town also proposes a 2 percent increase in salary for its 25 nonunion employees. Union contracts for 18 police officers and 40 firefighters will be negotiated when the contracts expire at the end of the year.
City Administrator Rick Czopp said the changes won't affect the bottom line. The budget has a virtually flat tax levy and tax rate as in previous years.
The proposed tax levy is $3.6 million, unchanged since 2009, and the tax rate is set for $3.56, slightly below this year's $3.57.
An owner of a home assessed at $250,000 would receive a town tax bill of $890.
The proposed town budget of $4.8 million will be the subject of a public hearing beginning at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 at the Town Hall. At that meeting the public will vote on the levy and the Town Board will vote on the entire budget.
Czopp said the municipality takes as much pride in its flat budget as it does in being debt free.
"We can keep taxes flat because we are debt free," Czopp said. "We will still do the things necessary to keep our core services intact."
That means carrying out a regular replacement and maintenance of police and firefighting vehicles and adding a snowplow truck. He noted that the town will repave Watertown Plank Road from Barker to Springdale, also as part of a planned maintenance.
Fire department boost
The assistant fire chief status from part to full time was presented at the Oct. 2 Town Board meeting. Fire Chief Andrew Smerz said a status change would help in at least three ways.
"First, it helps us with command coverage," Smerz said. "We can have command coverage at all of our incidents. Second, even though we have part-time firefighters, we are a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation. We can have coverage into the night shift, which begins at 6 p.m. Third, it would help us in our fire inspection duties."
What won't change
While the budget proposes a strengthening of the fire department operation, Czopp said the change is in no way connected to the town's efforts to establish a tax incremental financing district and eventually re-establishing a commercial district. That proposed district southeast of Barker and Bluemond Roads features with a Von Maur department store its anchor.
The financing plan has been challenged by the city of Brookfield in several ways, including the amount of services that would need to be added to cover the added commercial properties.
Czopp said he has minutes from a recent City of Brookfield meeting in which Robert Scott, the city's finance director, says that if a project like Von Maur and its potential economic growth were in the city, that municipality would need to add six to 10 officers.
"We are not planning to add any more police officers or fire fighters," Czopp said. "We know what our crime rates are and they are low. I think this is a good example of why people don't trust government. We are not going to add staff when we don't need it."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Brookfield to host hazardous waste collection June 1
- Business Calendar: May 16-29
- Elmbrook School District likely to cut 25-30 positions
- Brookfield mother, daughter create worldwide fundraiser to help Boston Marathon victims
- Police report: May 21
- Despite Elm Grove residents' concerns, Juneau Pathway approved Monday
- Loaded handgun taken from unlocked car in Brookfield
- Ask NOW: When will the Capitol Drive construction be over?
- Brookfield and Elm Grove police join national Click It or Ticket campaign
- Pilgrim Park students' rocket takes first at regional competition