County Board Committee Passes Fair Budget With Balance on Vote of 8-1
Public safety, economic development and Parks enhancement highlight budget that heads to public hearing at the Marcus Center on Oct. 29
The Co-Chairs of the Milwaukee County Board Committee of Finance, Personnel and Audit are proud to announce today that the Committee has prepared a budget that invests in public safety, fosters economic development, enhances Milwaukee County Parks and fairly distributes the tough fiscal choices that accompany any budget.
“This Committee of the Milwaukee County Board listened to the citizens of Milwaukee County and opted to increase the County’s investment in public safety,” said Co-Chair and Supervisor David Cullen. “We’re putting our County residents first by preserving and enhancing the role of the Deputy Sheriffs in our Parks and by creating two new positions in the District Attorney’s office, one of which focuses on fighting domestic violence.”
In a further commitment to public safety, the Committee opted to transfer the response of 911 cellular calls originating in the city of Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Police Department and added $500,000 to the countywide Emergency Medical Services program for total funding of $2 million.
The Committee’s budget addresses economic development via a Small Business Opportunity Initiative that includes a $100,000 loan fund for small businesses; the training of small business at the Milwaukee County Research Park; a micro-loan program of loans ranging between $1,000 and $5,000 and other business-building components.
“This Committee needed to respond to the stark lack of economic development in the County Executive’s 2013 Recommended Budget,” explained Co-Chair and Supervisor Willie Johnson, Jr. “I’m pleased by this Committee’s decisions to make investments that bring value to the people who live, work and play in Milwaukee County.”
While the budget presented by the County Executive increased the already significant burden on County employees, the budget from the Committee asks employees to continue to share the sacrifice but not to carry it all.
In fact, the Committee is granting only half of the wage increase that was proposed by the County Executive. The County Executive’s budget called for a three percent wage increase; the Committee’s budget calls for just 1.5 percent.
“I’d like to thank my colleagues for their careful thought, deliberation and mindfulness of value to the residents of Milwaukee County,” said Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic. “It’s important to note that the Committee, which represents diverse communities and people throughout Milwaukee County, came together to build this budget.”
With regard to Milwaukee County Parks, the budget protects this treasured resource by creating a Parks Amenities Matching Fund that will pay for outstanding deferred maintenance without a burden on the tax levy.
The Fund stands to raise approximately $800,000 for the Parks, based on revenue projections of two new beer gardens, anticipated Milwaukee County land sales estimates and leveraged donations.
The budget approved by the Committee carries a tax levy increase of 1.2 percent, which is less than inflation.
The majority of the levy of the Board’s budget comes mostly from public safety investments.
The County Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, is set to adopt the 2013 Budget on Monday, November 5 at 8:30 a.m. in Room 200 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
The County Board’s Annual Public Hearing on the 2013 Budget is scheduled for Monday, October 29, 2012 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, located at 929 N. Water Street in Milwaukee. The hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m.
Free parking, including handicapped accessible stalls, will be available in the Marcus Center structure.