Common Council President Cavalier Johnson
Press Release

Committee recommends approval of omnibus budget amendment

Amendment provides funding for healthy food access, lead abatement, CART teams and Community Collaborative Commission, among other initiatives

By - Oct 29th, 2020 04:08 pm

During today’s budget amendment hearing of the Finance and Personnel Committee, the committee recommended approval of an omnibus amendment that tackles a variety of relevant issues within the community. The amendment is sponsored by Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman Mark Borkowski, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey and Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.

President Johnson appreciates the team effort that went into creating this amendment. “The omnibus budget amendment recommended for approval today tackles important and timely issues that the community has called on us to address, and that Council members have championed for over time,” he said. “I appreciate the collaboration among colleagues on this amendment as we work with limited resources to make Milwaukee the best city it can be.”

The omnibus amendment provides $300,000 to fund three licensed mental health clinicians creating three additional Crisis Assessment Response (CART) teams. These teams consist of a law enforcement officer and a licensed mental health clinician who respond to mental health 911 calls for service and offer residents wraparound services and mental health supports. According to the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, 80% of the time, CART is able to provide an outcome that connects residents with resources or voluntary services instead of emergency mental health detention. CART teams were implemented in 2013 in partnership with Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division with the goal of reducing repeated law enforcement interactions for residents with mental health needs and reducing use of force instances with residents during mental health crises.

The omnibus amendment also includes $50,000 to fund the work and recommendations of the Community Collaborative Commission (CCC), a civilian oversight body created to provide a forum for and solicit community input regarding policing and law enforcement policies. President Johnson stated, “The CCC has been hard at work in collaboration with residents and the Milwaukee Police Department to reform MPD policies and procedures in alignment with the goals of the community and calls for police reform. I am proud to support this important and necessary work.”

The amendment also adds support for multiple health and wellness initiatives including $200,000 for the Department of City Development’s Healthy Food Establishment Fund. This fund provides financial support for activities and development that increase access of underserved consumers to healthy food choices.

Additionally, the omnibus responds to the calls from the community to provide active case management to children with blood lead levels at a lower threshold of 5 micrograms per deciliter and above. “I am proud to have worked with my colleagues and department heads to dedicate $3.5 million in existing funding to address the lead crisis in our city with the urgency that it deserves,” stated President Johnson. Position authority was given to fill 25 new positions in order to accomplish this goal including public health nurses, lead risk assessors, chemists, lab techs, and environmental health coordinators.

An additional $500,000 in funding will be dedicated a new SafeHomes Lead Abatement Initiative created in the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) and funded with Tax Incremental Financing resources. In total $1 million in capital abatement funding would be available for the MHD with 2020 carryover funds. By enhancing abatement and inspection capabilities in the MHD and DNS, even more properties can be made lead safe for our children and families.

The amendment also includes an increase in the Milwaukee Arts Board special purpose account by $60,000 to restore the account to its previous funding level, and a footnote directing the Commissioner of the Department of City Development to collaborate with the Community Development Grants Administration, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, and other local stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, interagency housing plan. The intent of the footnote is to create a plan to efficiently coordinate and leverage city resources.

The full Common Council will meet on Friday, November 6th at 9 a.m. to discuss and approve the final 2021 city budget. That virtual meeting will be televised live on the City Channel (channel 25 on Spectrum Cable and channel 99 on AT&T U-Verse in the City of Milwaukee) and via streaming video on the city website at city.milwaukee.gov/Channel25.

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