Brookfield will carry on

Affluent communities receive less shared revenue from the state than lower-income communities. So, cities such as Brookfield will likely be less affected by Walker’s plans to cut shared revenue to local governments.

The city of Brookfield gets about $650,000 a year from the state in shared revenue, Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto said. City officials are not sure how much that will be cut in the state budget.

Brookfield will save about $502,000 a year by having its non-unionized employees contribute to their pensions under Walker’s plan, Ponto said.

Four of the city’s unions have contracts in place until 2014, and the only other union is for the firefighters, who are not affected by Walker’s budget repair bill. Until the other union contracts expire. the city will not be able to get those employees to contribute to their pensions, Ponto said.

Firefighters and police officers should have to contribute to their pensions and health insurance costs like everyone else, Ponto said.

“I’ve been critical of that (exception),” he said.

Brookfield has its own health insurance program, so its health insurance costs will not be affected by the Walker plan, Ponto said. The city’s employees pay for 15 to 20 percent of their health insurance costs, but if they participate in a wellness program, they only pay for 10 percent, he said.

Despite Walker’s proposal to cut funds and eliminate the mandate for recycling, Brookfield still plans to continue its recycling program through the Waukesha County program, Ponto said.

Ponto said he is concerned that tightening revenue caps will limit local government flexibility to address financial issues, but overall he says he is supportive of Walker’s plans.

“I think it’s very important that these financial issues get addressed and the state get its budget issues in order,” he said.

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