Barrett Issues Two Budget Vetoes
Mayor targets funding source for lead abatement, neighborhood watch programs.
Barrett’s vetoes, if sustained, would cancel amendments that would increase funding for lead abatement by cutting affordable housing funding and provide funding for the Alert Neighbor program by cutting police overtime funding.
The council will consider whether to override or sustain the vetoes on November 24th. Barrett issued eight vetoes in 2019, with the council overriding each. But unlike past years, the council approved the 2021 budget on a narrow 8-7 vote.
“The 2021 city budget has been the most challenging budget we have faced,” wrote Barrett. “Circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made the development of the budget much more difficult. The fiscal handcuffs placed on the City by the State Legislature and our coming pension obligations put us in a very difficult position. Despite all the challenges, I commend you on the 2021 budget you have adopted.”
Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic successfully pushed for the inclusion of an amendment that reallocated $500,000 towards lead paint abatement as part of a new, voluntary “Safe Homes” program. The funds came from cutting allocations to the 10,000 Homes Initiative aimed at creating or preserving affordable housing and the Strong Home Loans program that aids home repair. The funding came from the closeout of the Beerline tax incremental financing district, with state law allowing the city to harvest over $6 million from the district last year.
During the adoption process, Dimitrijevic said the Safe Homes program would support affordable housing by allowing the Milwaukee Health Department to do more remediation work.
Budget director Dennis Yaccarino said that the health department would have $9 million for the work already in 2021, when including unspent funding resulting from a pandemic-induced slowdown and a new $5 million allocation. Barrett repeated that in his veto message.
“I appreciate the council’s addition of position authority to support the health department’s work and have left that intact,” wrote Barrett.
Barrett’s veto message said approximately $600,000 exists in the City Clerk‘s office from unspent 2020 funds and could be tapped to fund the program in 2021.
During the budget deliberation process, co-sponsor Ald. Milele A. Coggs said 15 pilot neighborhood groups have already been identified. Stamper said the MPD is aware of the effort.
Funds had been previously allocated to MPD for the program, but went unspent and were returned to the tax stabilization fund because a carryover request was not made. Ald. Robert Bauman suggested MPD eliminate the position of the person responsible for keeping track of the budget allocation to pay for the program, drawing laughs from his colleagues.
The 2021 budget cuts the size of MPD by at least 120 officers, eliminates one fire engine company, creates a new street lighting fee and reduces the property tax rate as the city grapples with pandemic-induced challenges, structural budget issues and the need to provide up to an additional $100 million annually to fund the city’s pension system.
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Related Legislation: File 200001
- City Hall: Council Delays on Federal COPS Grant - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 25th, 2020
- City Hall: Barrett Issues Two Budget Vetoes - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 18th, 2020
- City Hall: $1.6 Billion Adopted Budget Raises Fees, Cuts Police - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 6th, 2020
- Transportation: Budget Amendment Would Move Milwaukee Towards “Vision Zero” - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 30th, 2020
- City Hall: Committee Approves Over 20 Amendments To Milwaukee Budget - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 30th, 2020
- City Hall: Almost Half of Budget Amendments Are Policy Footnotes - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 29th, 2020
- City Hall: Community Groups Propose Changes - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 19th, 2020
- City Hall: City Could Lose 30 More Police Officers - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 19th, 2020
- Transportation: Should Milwaukee Stop The Hop? - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 13th, 2020
- City Hall: About That Proposed Street Lighting Fee - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 13th, 2020
Read more about 2021 Milwaukee Budget here