Ald. Bob Donovan
Press Release

Business moving from Milwaukee = wake up call

Statement of Alderman Bob Donovan May 31, 2013

By - May 31st, 2013 10:04 am

“I’m just not happy in Milwaukee.”

Not what you want to hear from anyone, but especially from a business executive who is looking to move a company and its good-paying 50 manufacturing jobs out of the city.

But that is exactly what Technical Metal Services President Thomas Sheahan said in a news article published in this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Technical Metal Services, located at 2737 S. 31st St. for the past 20 years (this location was in my 8th Aldermanic District prior to the last round of redistricting), is looking to move its entire operation to Muskego.

Why?

Mr. Sheahan said Milwaukee’s high property taxes, coupled with a lack of available on-street parking spaces for visitors and repeated gang graffiti tagging of the company’s facilities, are central issues for the planned relocation out of our city.

The graffiti issue is a double whammy for Technical Metal Services, because city inspectors have hounded the company with citations if the tags are not cleaned up within a certain time frame!

The untold story is that businesses like Mr. Sheahan’s (and businesses that are much smaller) often end up spending thousands of dollars each year to remove graffiti.

I have served on the city’s Anti-Graffiti Policy Committee for many years, and I have seen the ravages that graffiti has brought to too many Milwaukee neighborhoods. It is usually one of the first visible signs of disorder we see in neighborhoods that are challenged. However, the city has dialed back its resources and, in my opinion, its commitment to address graffiti. Sadly, city departments have other pressing priorities, and are focused on those core services.

The Milwaukee Police Department has violent crime issues to address, and even when culprits are caught (in many cases they are juveniles), many of our judges are asleep on the job and do not mete out the punishment that is deserved.

The article mentions past financial incentives that have been provided to Technical Metal Services to expand its operation in Milwaukee. To me it is mind-boggling that state and local officials are willing to commit such significant resources – in this case more than $360,000 – to attract businesses, yet we as a city are not doing the basic things that we should be doing to keep this company and others like it in the city.

Companies like Technical Metal Services were once the backbone of Milwaukee, providing good manufacturing jobs in neighborhoods across the city. But sadly, they are quietly and consistently moving out because of many of the same reasons cited by Mr. Sheahan.

As the former alderman for the company’s location, I have placed a call to Mr. Sheahan, in hopes that I can possibly convince him to reconsider the move to Muskego. I can only assume that the mayor is doing the same.

If he is not, then shame on him!

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