Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Common Council Has 7 Times The Ideas As It Has Funding

82 ideas for how to spend $394.2 million federal grant. What will council choose?

By - Oct 12th, 2021 05:34 pm
Milwaukee City Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee City Hall. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

There is no shortage of ideas from the Milwaukee Common Council on how to spend the remaining $179.7 million first allocation from the city’s federal American Rescue Plan Act grant. The City Clerk‘s office published the council’s 82 proposals representing $1.41 billion in spending (and 366 pages of documentation).

The ideas are both old and new, big and small. Some are new and flashy, like creating an indoor soccer complex. Others are the basics of government, like buying new police squad cars or garbage carts.

Now all the council has to do is figure out which ones to advance, and find agreement with Mayor Tom Barrett. A special meeting is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 15, to review the proposals.

The plans were intended to address the city’s first tranche of its $394.2 million ARPA allocation, but many of the proposals would last through the whole grant period (2026). Barrett also has his own administration proposals to spend some of the money, including replacing lost revenue and to hiring 195 police officers in three training classes. The council has already allocated approximately $18 million from what was a $197 million allocation, with funding going towards addressing an ambulance shortage ($4.7 million), hiring attorneys for those being evicted ($1.8 million), combating reckless driving ($7.15 million) and the city’s Earn and Learn high school employment and training program ($3.8 million).

Five proposals, totaling $484 million, attempt to do what is effectively the same thing: rehabilitate city-owned homes and get them into the hands of residents. But each one includes a nuanced take, be it a different scale or a different combination of funding allocations to city programs. Council members Robert Bauman and JoCasta Zamarripa are the lead sponsors on the proposals. Bauman has advocated for similar proposals since the city first learned it would be getting the funding.

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic has a $13.3 million, multi-faceted proposal aimed at expanding the number of childcare providers by focusing on training young men of color for the work and providing grants and support other providers. She also has a $10 million proposal to expand and restore the city’s urban tree canopy, a $500,000 parklet grant program, a $2.7 million bicycle infrastructure proposal, a $3.2 million lead safe proposal and a $1.4 million energy efficiency proposal.

Ald. Jose G. Perez is advancing a previously introduced $97.7 million plan to address childhood lead poisoning. It mirrors a request from the Coalition on Lead Emergency (COLE). He is also packing a $500,000 proposal for skateboard parks, a $26 million lead abatement program and a $500,000 food center grant program.

Ald. Milele A. Coggs is proposing to allocate $15 million to a participatory budgeting initiative, which would in effect allow citizens to make direct choices on how that pot of money is spent.

Ald. Nik Kovac is advancing portions of the Environmental Collaboration Office‘s plan to build a house factory in Century City.

Council President Cavalier Johnson has two proposals to allocate money to the Westlawn Gardens affordable housing redevelopment ($12 million total) and another to allocate $1.3 million to the Earn and Learn high school employment program. But that’s not all, Johnson has the greatest number of proposals. In fact, more than 25% of the amendments have the council president listed as the lead sponsor. But half of the proposals are items that were in Barrett’s $93 million Stronger Summer plan that the council held off acting on.

Council members Scott Spiker and Michael Murphy each have a series of smaller proposals aimed at everything from buying garbage carts to software to improve the productivity of the Assessor’s Office.

Proposals from Ald. Chantia Lewis would fund the administrative costs of establishing a universal basic income pilot proposal and the startup costs of the Office of Veterans Affairs.

The award for the smallest proposal, $18,171, goes to Ald. Khalif Rainey. The money would be used to survey residents of the 53206 ZIP Code, which has the highest incarceration rate of any Wisconsin ZIP code and is among the city’s most impoverished, to determine what they want the money spent on. The city would mail physical copies of the June 2021 online survey.

The 53206 proposal narrowly beats out a $20,000 proposal from Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd to study the wages of sanitation workers so that the city can better recruit and retain vehicle drivers. But Dodd would spend plenty more on sanitation. She has a $6.5 million proposal to remove all fees from the self-help centers for five years and a $700,000 “weekend box” program to fund dumpsters being placed in neighborhoods.

Ald. Russell W. Stamper, II has a series of proposals aimed at everything from city beautification to traffic calming.

Other proposals target improving street lighting reliability ($10 million), violence prevention ($16.8 million), restoring and expanding the urban tree canopy ($10 million) and funding the administrative costs of a universal basic income program ($400,000). One reflects why the federal government created the program in the first place: a $10 million allocation to continue to address the city’s COVID-19 response.

There are four proposed omnibus proposals, representing $459.9 million of the proposed total. Each has the backing of different council members and includes some of the proposals also proposed individually.

Council Mark Borkowski and Ashanti Hamilton are the only council members not to be listed as a lead sponsor of an amendment. But Hamilton appears as a co-sponsor on a handful of amendments, while Borkowski’s name does not appear in the 366-page document.

The city’s Department of Administration, in a letter sent Oct. 11, is encouraging each proposal to be resubmitted using the administration-approved ARP Request Form. The form was used by city department heads to submit requests to the mayor. “The ARP Request Form was created to ensure that city departments follow the rules promulgates by the federal government at every step including when making ARP requests. The questions included int he form largely align with ARP compliance and reporting requirements,” wrote department director Sharon Robinson, budget director Dennis Yaccarino and chief equity officer Nikki Purvis. “Because the scale of the ARP is enormous – and not simply because of the amount of money involved – it is important that every decision maker within City government exercise great diligence when making ARP requests.”

A full copy of each proposal is available on Urban Milwaukee.

Proposal List

Full details on each proposal can be found in the above-linked PDF.

1 Omnibus – Johnson/Murphy Johnson DOA; DCD; City Clerk; Fire; Health; Library; Mayor; DNS; Police; DPW $171,117,670
2 Omnibus – Zamarripa Zamarripa DOA;DCD; Fire; Health; Mayor; DNS; DPW $124,550,477
3 Omnibus – Perez Perez DOA-CDGA; DCD; DNS; Mayor; Health $96,859,478
4 Omnibus – Stamper Stamper DOA; City Clerk; DCD; Mayor $67,360,000
5 Continued Response to COVID Murphy DOA-OAAA; Fire; Health; Library $10,000,000
6 Fiscal Sustainability Johnson DOA-OAAA; ITMD; DPW; City Clerk; Fire; DNS; Mayor; Health; Library $83,367,193
7 Century City Clean Energy Jobs Kovac DOA-ECO $2,700,000
8 ECO Green Lot Pilot Program Kovac DOA-ECO $100,000
9 Modular Home Manufacturing Kovac DOA-ECO $1,000,000
10 GHHI Initiative Kovac/Perez DOA-ECO; Health $28,050,477
11 Energy Efficiency Upgrades Dimitrijevic DOA-ECO $1,400,000
12 Urban Tree Canopy Dimitrijevic DOA-ECO; DPW Ops $10,760,000
13 Community Excellence
Stamper DOA-ECO $350,000
14 Affordable Housing Zamarripa DOA-CDGA; DCD; DNS $180,000,000
15 Affordable Housing Zamarripa DOA-CDGA; DCD; DNS $40,000,000
16 Affordable Housing Bauman DOA-CDGA; DCD; DNS $77,500,000
17 Affordable Housing Bauman DOA-CDGA; DCD; DNS $150,000,000
18 Affordable Housing Bauman DOA-CDGA; DCD; DNS $36,500,000
19 Translation Services Zamarripa DOA-ITMD; City Clerk $1,000,000
20 Language Translation Services Johnson DOA-ITMD; City Clerk $600,000
21 Broadband Feasibility Johnson DOA-ITMD $100,000
22 Skillful Transitions Job Training Kovac DOA $3,000,000
23 Employment & Job Training Johnson DOA $4,775,000
24 Home Security Cameras Zamarripa DOA; Police $1,000,000
25 Food Center Grants Perez DOA $500,000
26 Spatialest Software Spiker Assessor $807,715
27 Spatialest Sub A Spiker Assessor $141,000
28 Spatialest Sub B Spiker Assessor $666,715
29 Healing Spaces Coggs DCD $100,000
30 Alert Neighbor Coggs DCD $150,000
31 Indoor Soccer Complex Perez DCD $1,000,000
32 Partnerships in Affordable Housing Stamper DCD $3,000,000
33 Affordable and Sustainable Housing Johnson DCD; HACM $4,400,000
34 Rental Housing Resource
Johnson DCD $1,200,000
35 Westlawn Johnson DCD $7,000,000
36 Westlawn Johnson DCD $5,000,000
37 Earn and Learn Johnson DCD $1,300,000
38 Business Cooperative Rainey DCD $5,000,000
39 Parklet Construction Grants Dimitrijevic DCD $500,000
40 Child Care Dimitrijevic DCD; Mayor $13,309,001
41 Direct Connect Coggs City Clerk $4,026,669
42 Participatory Budgeting Coggs City Clerk $15,000,000
43 Universal Basic Income Lewis City Clerk $400,000
44 Office of Veterans’ Affairs Lewis City Clerk $200,000
45 53206 ARPA Survey Rainey City Clerk $18,171
46 Retroactive Hazard Pay Spiker DER $2,571,741
47 Retroactive Hazard Pay Johnson DER $2,571,740
48 Lost Revenue Spiker Fire; Library, Mayor, DNS; Police $27,216,193
49 Cont’d COVID Response and Adaptation Spiker Health $6,000,000
50 Violence Prevention Response Coggs Health $16,800,000
51 House Call Emergency Mental Health Diversion Kovac Health $1,080,000
52 COVID Mask Mandate
Zamarripa Health $2,000,000
53 Reduce Childhood Lead
Poisoning (COLE)
Perez Health $97,724,000
54 Lead Abatement Perez Health $26,050,477
55 Mental Health Preventative Care and Crisis Intervention Stamper Health $1,080,000
56 Positive Parenting Program (PPP) Johnson Health $1,457,621
57 Lead Safe Program Dimitrijevic Health $3,200,000
58 MLK Library Coggs Library $4,200,000
59 Squad Cars Spiker Police $600,000
60 MPD Non-Sworn Staff Spiker Police $900,000
61 Traffic Calming Stamper Police; DPW-ISD $350,000
62 Crime Stoppers Lewis Police $25,000
63 Traffic Calming Special
Murphy DPW $1,000,000
64 Street Lighting Circuit Reliability Improvement Johnson DPW-ISD $10,000,000
65 Skateboard Parks Perez DPW-ISD $500,000
66 Bicycle Infrastructure Dimitrijevic DPW-ISD $2,705,000
67 Garbage Carts Murphy DPW-Ops $1,300,000
68 Self Help Fee Elimination Dodd DPW-Ops $6,500,000
69 Weekend Box Program Dodd DPW-Ops $700,000
70 Sanitation Wage Study Dodd DPW-Ops $20,000
71 Family Food Access Johnson DOA $2,000,000
72 Ethnic & Diverse Coalition 01 Johnson DOA-OEI $2,500,000
73 Racial Equity Training Johnson DOA-OEI $1,000,000
74 Climate, Energy & Equity
Johnson DOA-ECO $5,000,000
75 HOME GROWN Victory Over Violence Park Johnson DOA-ECO $200,000
76 Business Restart 3.0 Johnson DCD $7,500,000
77 Westlawn Johnson DCD $15,000,000
78 Violence Prevention – 414 Life Johnson Health $3,000,000
79 Early Childhood Education – Dual Enrollment K12 Johnson Mayor $310,000
80 Early Childhood – Men of color Mentorship Johnson Mayor $1,200,000
81 Compliance Loan Program Johnson DNS $3,000,000
82 The Big Clean Johnson DPW-Ops $2,310,000
Categories: City Hall, Politics, Weekly

2 thoughts on “City Hall: Common Council Has 7 Times The Ideas As It Has Funding”

  1. Wardt01 says:

    the 53206 idea sounds interesting.

    getting property off the city’s books so that they begin to generate property tax revenues could be a home run, hopefully there’s a mechanism to keep the fraud & abuse down, and maybe couple some provisions into those houses that address the fire safety headline story in the JS last month.

    anything that involves childcare, Pre-K, universal income type programs could be put on the back burner until after Congress passes their package which avoids us spending money on duplicative goals. address those proposals in round 2.

    I’d also move to the bottom of the list all proposals for projects that the federal government already has allocated huge amounts of funding for (ie lead pipe abatement, food assistance) and such proposals should only be considered AFTER the sponsor has applied for & was turned down for the available federal funds.

    and $20k to pay a consultant to write a report on how to improve DPW sanitation workers’ salary??? sounds like the textbook definition of politicians wasting our money. the answer is = higher wages will attract & retain workers.

  2. exlibris says:

    The City of Milwaukee has done a series of plans that identify projects that would have a transformative effect. Thousands of residents and business leaders have contributed to those plans. I hope those are at least considered if not included on the list.

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