All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Friday, June 23, 2006

...and the City will get as much mileage out of the survey as possible

I can almost hear it already. The next time some unfortunate neighborhood tries to scale back an overly dense development from diminishing their quality of life, the city will quote their survey and say, well, 67% of Brookfield residents favor development to reduce or control the tax rate, and 97% are happy with their quality of life.

Right now the hot development issue is the widening of Calhoun Road. I am not calling it a road improvement project, but a development issue. That is because its sole purpose is to prepare the way for VK’s Ruby/WTMJ mystery project. (No official plans have been filed. This is so that when asked, Ertl and the Mayor can say nothing has been filed—we don’t know what VK is planning.)

Will VK’s project “reduce or control the tax rate” as the survey led all survey participants to believe? The survey said that development would make taxes go down or at least be controlled. But that does not ring true with this VK property. The taxpayers will need to fund the $11+million price tag for the road widening—and that is just to get the road to it! This figure will be higher since material costs have increased and the I-94 bridge replacement figure of $4 to $5 million has never been included. The temporary bridge cost of $100,000 has always been grossly underrated. To give you an idea of costs, those foot bridges in the parks run about $50,000!

Now add to that the cost to get sewer, electric, and water to the property. Once it is built, it will require extra police and fire protection, and last but not least—don’t forget the added school costs from the 300+ apartments/condos. We could get hit with some extra roads within his property too?—we just supplied the cul-de-sac for a condo project off of Brookfield Rd.

The City will tout that 97% of those surveyed believe their quality of life in Brookfield is either excellent or good. But the point the survey misses is that we treasure the high quality of life we have—that is why we are working so hard to protect it! The survey also grouped those who lived here 20 years or longer as the least likely to favor development. I think that is because we have seen the changes in our city over the decades and see how the increased traffic, higher density, and loss of greenspace are eroding our quality of life. Like the canary in the mine, we are more sensitive to the problems that will come if development continues at its current pace and scope.

Maybe that is why no real questions were asked about future concerns and problems in the survey. Although the City did not directly word the questions, they did "help(ed) develop the survey questions.” If you are the one putting forth a survey, you only ask questions you want to hear an answer to.

I would guess the city will often refer to the 97% satisfied with their quality of life and 67% favor development to keep taxes low statistics. The survey cost was around $25,000 to conduct. Do we think we got our money’s worth? I’m sure the City thinks they did.

Weed control links: garlic mustard and garlic mustard's pretty cousin, Dame's Rocket. (It can take over native areas too.) Garlic mustard should be thrown in the trash--do not compost


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