Brookfield voters have elected Dan Suttles and Mark Ferrara as trustees, and agreed to pay more tax dollars to the police department.
Suttles, who is completing his first term, was the top votegetter in unofficial results with 1,241 tallies, followed by Ferrara, 860, and Catherine Hodge, 629, in the race for two seats.
The police replacement levy was overwhelmingly approved, 1,157-437.
“I’m happy our residents have that much faith in us,” said Police Chief Dan Faustino.
The 1-mill levy approved by voters replaces a 1-mill levy approved in 1978. As the proceeds of most property tax levies decrease over time, the new levy will bring in funds at today’s property tax value, estimated at $137,000 a year.
The current levy brings in about $55,000 a year.
Faustino pledged to use the extra money to hire another full-time officer, and pay the department’s share of the cost of the school resource officer, an officer assigned full time to Brookfield schools.
Faustino has struggled to find part-time patrolmen to augment the full-time force, putting more pressure on the full-timers at a time when the department has been hit by injuries, illnesses and military requirements, and is about to lose Cpl. Scott Thompson’s 25 years of experience as he is taking a job with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’ll continue to do the good work in trying to find new officers,” Faustino said.
The new money won’t start coming in until April or May of 2022, he said.
Suttles said he appreciates the people’s support, and takes their votes as approval of the work he has done the last four years. He said his first priority is to offer to help Ferrara get up to speed.
“I want him to be a little better prepared than I was as a trustee,” Suttles said.
One of the most important first things that Suttles, Ferrara and Trustee Ron Haun will have to do is come up with a plan to spend more than $860,000 in federal American Rescue Plan funds, Suttles said. The second and final installment will be delivered in January.
Suttles also listed as priorities coming up with a plan to address the condition of township roads, and bringing back a senior watch program.
Ferrara said he is “humbled” at the voters giving him a term as trustee, and said he will be a team player.
“Let’s work together,” he said. “We all want the same things at the end of the day.”
Ferrara said he will take up Suttles’ offer of assistance in prepping him for the work to come, and also will hit up Haun and outgoing Trustee Gary Lees.
“When you have those kinds of experts, you have to rely on them,” he said.
Ferrara said his priority at the outset of his term will be to “listen a lot, see what the people want. I don’t have an agenda at this point.”
Brookfield Board of Education members Ronda Bonekovic and Jerry Necastro were re-elected. Three seats were open, and the board will have to appoint a new member.