Milwaukee County Announces Upcoming Budget Public Engagement Sessions
Four sessions in partnership with Milwaukee County Supervisors provide forum for residents to share priorities and weigh in on new revenue options
Today Milwaukee County officials announced a series of public engagement sessions in August to discuss the 2020 budget. County Executive Chris Abele and local elected officials will host four sessions from August 13 – 20 at locations throughout the county to discuss the proposed budget directly with residents. Residents will also have the opportunity to weigh in on potential new revenue solutions to help close the County’s compounding deficit.
Over the past decade, Milwaukee County taxpayers have increased income and sales tax payments to the state by $327 million, yet shared revenue and other funding from the state has declined or remained flat over the same time period. Due to limitations in state law, Milwaukee County has reached the cap on the amount it can collect from property and sales tax.
In 2020, Milwaukee County projects a $28 million budget gap. Without adequate support from the state or the option to use new tools to generate necessary funding going forward, Milwaukee County’s ability to maintain facilities, preserve community assets and provide high-quality services will be decimated.
“Unless there is a state solution, balancing the County budget will involve tough decisions,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “We are asking our residents for input on how best to close the gap in the 2020 budget, and I am confident that these public engagement sessions will bring the best and the brightest together to help inform us on how to move forward and build a more sustainable future.”
Monday Aug. 19, from 6pm – 8pm
Washington Park Senior Center
4420 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee, WI 53208
In partnership with Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson
The first hour of the engagement sessions will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about County services and ask questions of department leaders. A formal budget presentation will begin at 7pm, followed by public comment.
Balancing Act, the interactive online tool simulating the process to balance the 2020 budget, will also remain open through mid-August. Using Balancing Act, residents analyze the $1.2 billion operating budget and determine ways to close the County’s estimated $28 million budget gap. Balancing Act is available at https://county.milwaukee.gov/balancing-act.
Milwaukee County provides nearly 1 million residents with state-mandated and non-mandated services ranging from transportation and health and human services, to parks and public safety. Due to the imbalance of revenue the County receives from the state and state-imposed caps to raise revenue locally, the County has faced a cumulative budget deficit of more than $270 million. In the same timeframe under County Executive Chris Abele’s leadership, cost-saving measures including moving out of 1.6 million feet of underutilized office space, increasing energy efficiency and streamlining operations have contributed to building the foundation for the County’s fiscal health.
With no more options to fix the budget locally, County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb and County Executive Abele convened the Fair Deal Workgroup to explore new revenue options to address the structural deficit. Milwaukee County is working in partnership with state leaders to find a solution that puts both Milwaukee County and all of Wisconsin on a path to a sustainable future. More information on the Fair Deal Work Group is available at: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Board-of-Supervisors/Fair-Deal.
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