In November 2016, The Village of Brookfield received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This award, presented by the Government Finance Officers is given out to government units whose comprehensive annual financial reports achieve the highest standards in government accounting and reporting. Under PEP leadership, Brookfield has received this award for the past 11 years.
Brookfield has made great strides in community development. Recent studies show Brookfield with some of the best value for your home dollar and a solid investment. Building permits also continue to increase each year. The Building Department issued 1,650 permits in 2016, a new record.
Total permit values were $14.5 million, indicating a clear confidence in buying, building, and living in Brookfield. Sales of Brookfield homes were up 34.6% according to a 2016 Crain’s Chicago Business article. The number of Brookfield homes that sold for $300,000 or more doubled in 2015 to 44 sales.
Our Village continues to live within its means, but this is not easy, as there is so much work to be done. However, with proper planning and good decision making by your Village board and staff, policies have been put in place that have had very positive effects.
The Village of Brookfield maintains a balanced budget, consistently files on-time financial audits, and continues to make timely pension payments. General fund cash reserves are healthy, sitting at close to $3 million. The Village board’s goal of maintaining a cash reserve equal to 3 months operating expenses should be reached ahead of schedule. Record sales tax dollars in 3 of the past 4 years has had a very positive effect on the bottom line. Success in obtaining grant funds has made this even better!
The Village operates on a two year budget cycle, and requires a balanced budget. Additionally, the Village board adopted a 5-year capital planning budget including expenditures such as street and sewer repairs, vehicle and equipment replacement. By planning long-term, the board is better able to deal with these larger expenditures, and puts us in a more strategic position to take advantage of available grant funding.
All of this helps the Village to maintain an excellent bond rating which translates into real savings for the residents. The recently issued bonds for the street work have an interest rate just over 2%, resulting in millions of dollars in savings. This is the lowest rate the village has paid for issued debt in decades. This savings in interest payments allows the Village to get even more work done.
Judiciously managing residents’ tax dollars is key for your Village board. Many residents do not realize that property taxes cover only about 50% of the Village’s operating budget. The rest is covered through sales tax revenue, income taxes, permit fees, etc. The Village receives approximately $8 million in property taxes each year and more than $2.8 million goes towards making required pension payments. This is about 16% of the overall budget. This is not something that can be avoided, even though some communities have decided to delay these payments.
The facts on Brookfield's finances are simple: expenses have been under budget, the General Operating Fund is balanced and shows slight surpluses and Brookfield is operating with a smaller, more efficient government staff. Managing our residents’ money has been the top priority of the Village Board. As national economic conditions have improved, Brookfield has weathered the storm and finds itself in good, stable financial shape.