Brookfield’s Berg, Nelson vote to stash the cash

Proving that old dogs are not at all interested in new tricks, Brookfield’s Common Council President Mark Nelson and Finance Committee Chairman Scott Berg recently voted to borrow funds from the state instead of paying for a couple of large expenses from the anticipated $1.2 million tax paid surplus from 2010. You can read more from this BrookfieldNOW blip.

The article says Nelson, Berg, and Garvens voted against the common sense move to pay for a lawsuit settlement out of pocket instead of borrowing. That would mean if everyone was in attendance that Reddin, Sutton, J. Mellone, and L. Mellone voted in favor of Brookfield’s taxpayers.

I’ve harped on Brookfield’s habit of tax and stash for years. I sincerely believe it’s one of the things that made Jeff Speaker former mayor. I sure hope Mayor Steve Ponto will take the lead when the council votes this decision. He needs to remind aldermen the city is in strong financial position and it doesn’t make any sense at all to incur the expense of borrowing money when there’s plenty to use.

This surplus, by the way, is left from Speaker’s last budget. Ponto did a good job this year of buttoning down some of the excesses. The surplus shouldn’t run so high next year.

For a very short explanation: the city (read Director of Finance Robert Scott and his voting buddies Nelson, Berg, and Garvens) likes to run numbers that let Brookfield tax to the max every year. Spending this surplus messes with the spending and thus revenue caps Wisconsin state law imposes. The good ol’ boys get less to play with, but this time the taxpayers win.

Finally! The taxpayers are winning! Yes, I’ll take about 1/100th of the credit for that. It’s been years of fighting and elections, but we’re getting there.


  1. From the Elmbrook School District Powerpoint presentation of yesterday: Between 1992 and 2009, City of Brookfield taxes (for City operations only) increased by 138.4%, whereas the Consumer Price index increased by 52.1%.

    They did not specify which consumer price index was used (I’m going to assume it is the urban price index,) but the fact remains that City taxes have increased at close to 3 TIMES the rate of inflation.
    Other than Waukesha County tax rate, all taxing bodies exceeded the cost of living by a large margin, but the City’s increase was the most egregious.
    Even if you are receiving some sort of “cost of living” adjustment to your income, the rate of tax increases is far exceeding the cost of living increases.