Milwaukee County Board approves 2012 budget

by the numbers

By - Nov 8th, 2011 08:03 am
Milwaukee County Board chambers

Image courtesy Milwaukee County

Monday evening the Milwaukee County Board voted to approve a $1.3 billion budget that includes a 2.3 percent tax levy increase. According to a statement released by County Public Information Manager Harold Mester, “Under this scenario, the owner of an average City of Milwaukee home would see the County portion of their property tax bill rise by approximately $3.” The levy will help to preserve some programs and employee positions, at least for this year.

County Executive Chris Abele earlier vowed to veto any budget that included a tax levy increase, and reaffirmed Monday that he is unlikely to approve this one. He has until Monday, November 14 to present his vetoes, which can be overridden by 13 of 17 Board votes. The County Board will consider any vetoes from the County Executive, as it relates to the 2012 Budget, Wednesday, November 16th at 1:30 p.m. in Room 200 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

Highlights of the currently approved budget, as released by Mester’s office, include:

 Total expenditures for 2012

$1,301,923,862, a decrease of $726,269,759 from 2011. Under the adopted budget, the 2012 tax levy is $275,805,499, an increase of 2.3% over the 2011 levy of $269,554,701.

 2012 Budget Amendments approved without objection

(Click here for the full log of amendments voted upon)

•        17-2 (No: Cesarz, Rice) to deny the proposed consolidation of Labor Relations, the Personnel Review Board and the Ethics Board within the Department of Human Resources.  (decreases tax levy by $29,690)

•        12-7 (No: Cesarz, De Bruin, Harris, Lipscomb, Rice, Sanfelippo, Thomas) to deny the transfer of the Courts’ Human Resources Manager from that department to the Department of Human Resources.

•        17-2 (No: Cesarz, Schmitt) to develop and implement a countywide policy that any contract greater than $1 million presented to the County Board shall be accompanied by a chart that lists the specific factors why that firm was selected compared to any other firm that competed for the business.

•        0-18-1 (Abstain: Thomas) (item fails) to create a separate and stand-alone Department of Comptroller and Finance, and retitle the positions of Controller and Deputy Controller to Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller.   The position of Comptroller shall be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Board, and shall be removable from office for cause with the concurrence of both the County Executive and a majority vote of the County Board, or by a two-thirds vote of the County Board.  A number of other positions are transferred from DAS-Administration and Fiscal Affairs Division to the Department of Comptroller and Finance.  The comptroller shall be a position in the classified service and shall have an employment contract duration of five years, commencing January 1, 2012 and which shall be renewable for additional five year terms upon approval from by the County Board and concurrence of the County Executive.  (no tax levy impact)

•        15-4 (No: Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to decrease Register of Deeds revenues by $100,000 in order to implement a free birth certificate program for up to 5,000 individuals requiring the vital record in order to obtain identification to vote.  (no tax levy impact)

•        17-2 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz) to restore 25 Deputy Sheriff 1 and 2 Deputy Sheriff Sergeant positions for the Tactical Enforcement Unit.  (increases tax levy by $1,551,991)

•        15-4 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo) to delay the outsourcing for inmate medical and mental health services and begin planning for a mid-year transfer of this function to the Department of Health and Human Services. Contracting for inmate medical services is denied and funding is restored for all positions in the inmate medical unit.  (increases tax levy by $1,320,531)

•        13-6 (Borkowski, Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt, Thomas) to deny the abolishment of 15 Park Maintenance Worker In Charge positions and create 15 Parks/Highway Maintenance Workers. (increases tax levy by $459,090)

•        14-4-1 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, Rice, Schmitt; Abstain: Sanfelippo) to increase Paratransit fares by $0.75, rather than the $1.25 recommended by the County Executive.  (increases tax levy by $458,000)

•        19-0 (No: Sanfelippo) to approve a substituted amendment that G4S Wackenhut will continue to provide transit security services for the Milwaukee County Transit System.  (no tax levy impact)

•        13-6 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, Jursik, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to employ County security employees at secure designated security facilities, with the cost partially offset with the elimination of the current security contract.  (increases tax levy by $418,183)

•        16-3 (No: Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo) to work with the Department of Audit to develop a method of collecting data on racial and gender breakdowns of all contractor employees working on Milwaukee County construction or maintenance projects.  (no tax levy impact)

•        15-4 (No: Biddle, Haas, Harris, Weishan) to eliminate the contribution to the debt service reserve, conduct a countywide comprehensive facilities plan, and increase the Appropriation for Contingencies.  (no tax levy impact)

•        15-4 (No: Borkowski, Johnson, Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to restore half of the $3 million Emergency Medical Services (EMS) subsidy to municipalities, disperse using a new distribution formula, and encourage municipalities to achieve functional consolidation.  (increases tax levy by $1,500,000)

•        14-5 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to provide the Parks Department with $50,000 for parks cultural events programming which had previously been budgeted in the CAMPAC budget (increases tax levy by $50,000)

•        17-2 (No: Cesarz, Sanfelippo) to form a Workgroup to enter into discussions with the Hunger Task Force on the specifics of a lease arrangement that is beneficial to both parties.  The proposed lease shall address all components of operating the farm and fish hatchery including, but not limited to, staffing, land utilization, commodity distribution and building maintenance and repair.  (no tax levy impact)

•        14-5 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo, Thomas) to increase parks seasonal staff hours from 366,683 to 411,446 for an expenditure increase of $500,000.  (increases tax levy by $500,000)

•        12-7 (No: Biddle, Cesarz, Lipscomb, Rice, Sanfelippo, Thomas, Weishan) to adopt policy that the tax levy for the Department of Parks for the next four years, 2013 thru 2016, shall not be less than the tax levy budgeted for this department in the 2012 adopted budget.  (no tax levy impact)

•        16-3 (No: Cesarz, Rice, Sanfelippo) to decrease the proposed monthly employee premium for the family plan to $170 from $250, decrease the proposed office visit co-pay to $30 from $30, and decrease the annual out-of-pocket limit for preferred providers to $2,500 single/$5,000 family, from $3,000/$6,000 respectively, offset by a significant number of extra vacancies will occur at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 due to benefit modifications (i.e. no more eligibility for Medicare Part B reimbursement) that were approved earlier in 2011.  To remain eligible for this benefit, employees must retire prior to January 1, 2012.  (decreases tax levy by $388,761)

•        16-3 (No: Sanfelippo, Schmitt, Thomas) to restore the County’s 2012 tax levy contribution of $66,650 to the Milwaukee County Federated Library System.  (increases tax levy by $9,998)

•        18-1 (No: Sanfelippo) to restore 85 percent of the CAMPAC (Cultural Artistic and Musical Programming Advisory Council) funds cut for 2012.  (increases tax levy by $321,035)

Amendments to capital budget approved

•        14-5 (No: Cesarz, Jursik, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to develop “Ready to Work” career training and sustainable jobs within Milwaukee County in partnership with WTRP/BIG STEP, funded by $1,000,000 from future land sale revenues (2012 and beyond) for this initiative.  For 2012, the first $400,000 of any land sale revenue is earmarked for the Real Estate Services Section in the Department of Economic Development.  (no tax levy impact)

•        17-2 (No: Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to institute phase 2 of the legislative workflow and agenda management project, including streaming live audio/video of County Board and Committee meetings, offset by reduced reimbursement from the Employee Retirement System for Administrative Costs.  (decreases tax levy by $57,200)

•        All other capital budget amendments were approved unanimously

Budget Amendments approved after failing in Finance & Audit Committee

•        13-6 (No: Borkowski, Broderick, Cesarz, Haas, Rice, Sanfelippo) to delete one position of IT Director – Business Development (decreases tax levy by $136,540)

•        17-2 (No: Cesarz, Mayo) to deny the abolishment of three Deputy Sheriff Lieutenant positions and leaving these positions unfunded. (no tax levy impact)

•        13-6 (No: Cesarz, De Bruin, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt, Thomas) to undo the reverse the departmental transfers/realignment/reorganizations proposed for the Department of Transportation & Public Works, Facilities Management, Fleet Management, Transit/Paratransit, Highway Maintenance, Transportation Services. (no tax levy impact)

•        12-7 (No: Biddle, De Bruin, Harris, Mayo, Romo West, Thomas, Holloway) to remove budget language relating to proposed transit service reductions/eliminations should the County not receive federal CMAQ funding for transit.  (no tax levy impact)

•        15-4 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, Rice, Schmitt) to reduce detox funding by $100,000 rather than the $300,000 proposed by the County Executive. (increases tax levy by $200,000)

•        15-4 (No: Broderick, Jursik, Schmitt, Thomas)  to establish a trust account to receive future years revenue from the broadcasting towers leased to the Hearst Corporation and Weigel Broadcasting, to be used for future maintenance of the Estabrook Dam, for improvements to recreational access of the upstream areas of the river, and uses approved by the County Board. (no tax levy impact)

•        11-8 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, De Bruin, Jursik, Mayo, Rice, Sanfelippo, Schmitt) to issue a Request for Proposals for a wellness program that includes a health risk assessment with biometric screening, health coaching and quarterly follow-up contacts by health professionals. (increases tax levy by $370,913)

•        10-9 (No: Borkowski, Cesarz, De Bruin, Jursik, Lipscomb, Mayo, Rice, Schmitt, Holloway) to appropriate $2,000,000 to repair portions of the HVAC systems at the Martin Luther King Jr. and Kosciuszko Community Centers, with financing provided via general obligation bonding.  (no tax levy impact)

•        All other Budget Amendments approved by the Finance & Audit Committee were approved with no objection.  Click here for the complete list of amendments.

Votes in favor of adopting the 2012 County Tax Levy (12-7)
Supervisors Eyon Biddle, Sr., Gerry Broderick, Marina Dimitrijevic, Lynne De Bruin, Jason Haas, Nikiya Q. Harris, Willie Johnson, Jr., Theodore Lipscomb, Peggy Romo West, Johnny L. Thomas, John F. Weishan, Jr., Chairman Lee Holloway

 Votes against
Supervisors Mark Borkowski, Paul Cesarz, Patricia Jursik, Michael Mayo, Sr., Joseph Rice, Joe Sanfelippo, Jim “Luigi” Schmitt

 Votes in favor of adopting the 2012 County Budget (13-6)
Supervisors Eyon Biddle, Sr., Gerry Broderick, Lynne De Bruin, Marina Dimitrijevic, Jason Haas, Nikiya Q. Harris, Willie Johnson, Jr., Theodore Lipscomb, Michael Mayo, Sr., Peggy Romo West, Johnny L. Thomas, John F. Weishan, Jr., Chairman Lee Holloway

Votes against
Supervisors Mark Borkowski, Paul Cesarz, Patricia Jursik, Joseph Rice, Joe Sanfelippo, Jim “Luigi” Schmitt

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