Make It Work Milwaukee/Mental Health Task Force Update:

Paratransit and Unfinished Business

by Barbara Beckert, Executive Director
Milwaukee Disability Rights Wisconsin

The Finance committee continued their budget deliberations today with “Unfinished Business.” Paratransit was first on the agenda.

Two amendments were put forward to reduce the proposed paratransit service increase from $4.50 per one way trip to $4.00 per one way trip.

  • The amendment proposed by Supervisors Dimitrijevic and Broderick used $458,000 of property tax levy to offset the increase. It passed 5 – 1. Supervisors De Bruin, Mayo, Johnson, Romo West, and Thomas voted for the amendment – Schmitt voted against.

  • The amendment proposed by Supervisor Jursik used a different revenue source. She proposed limiting the new domestic partners benefit to same sex couples only. This failed on a 5 – 1 vote with Schmitt voting for.


  • Please thank Supervisors Dimitrijevic and Broderick for their leadership in proposing this amendment.

  • Thank Supervisors De Bruin, Mayo, Johnson, Romo West, and Thomas for their support.

  • The following supervisors also indicated they want to co-sponsor the amendment so we can count on their vote when this goes to the full board: Holloway, Haas, Harris.

  • Finance also passed an amendment calling for an audit of the paratransit program with a focus on fraud prevention and quality of service issues.

We still need to get enough votes for the amendment reducing the paratransit rate to make it veto-proof. I spoke with the County Exec’s Chief of Staff and he indicated that the Exec will veto this amendment because it is funded with property tax levy. We need to be prepared to have enough support to override a veto.

  • We need a big turnout from paratransit riders at the Boards Public Hearing on the budget – Monday October 31 at Washington Park Senior Center, at 7:00 PM.

  • If you are a paratransit rider and want to attend the hearing Monday, ARC Greater Milwaukee is able to provide a limited number of free paratransit tickets. To request a ticket, please contact Melinda Kiltz at 414.774.6255 or

  • We also need to keep getting in contacts to supervisors asking them to preserve the service area and to support the smaller fee increase. See attached postcard. I will send out an updated action alert later this week.

The Finance Committee had also requested an informational report on paratransit which I have attached. The report says the “Agency” rate for paratransit rides purchased through Family Care and IRIS will be increasing to $17.05. I challenged this because when I was briefed on the budget by the Exec’s Chief of Staff George Aldrich he had told me the Family Care rate was not increasing because it was already so high. Sadly that was not correct and it is increasing to $17.05 – clearly there was some major misunderstanding on the part of the exec’s staff when he told me it would not increase. This is a very high rate and I am very disappointed to see it move forward as it is so expensive and will limit the independence of people with disabilities and older adults who use paratransit. I will raise this concern with supervisors and encourage others to do the same.

Here is the Paratransit report

Here is the proposed Amendment

Here is a Postcard Template to the supervisors

And here is your County officials contact information:

!Milwaukee County Elected Officials – Contact Information
County Executive Chris Abele 901 N. 9th Street Courthouse, Room 306 Milwaukee, WI 53233–1458 Phone:414–278–4211 Fax:414–223–1375 countyexec@milwcnty.comMilwaukee County Board of Supervisors Milwaukee County Courthouse 901 N. 9th Street, RM 201 Milwaukee, WI 53233 Phone:414–278–4222 Fax:414–278–1380
Note: If you are not sure who your supervisor is, call the main number 278–4222.
1.Theodore Lipscomb278–
2.Nikiya Harris278–
3.Gerry Broderick278–
4.Marina Dimitrijevic278–
5.Lee Holloway278–
6.Joseph Rice278–
7.Michael Mayo Sr.278–
8.Patricia Jursik278–
9.Paul Cesarz278–
10.Eyon Biddle278–
11.Mark Borkowski278–
12.Peggy West278–
13.Willie Johnson Jr.278–
14.Jason Haas278–
15.Lynne De Bruin278–
16.John Weishan, Jr.278–
17.Joe Sanfelippo278–
18.Johnny L. Thomas278–
19.Luigi Schmitt278–

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on October 26, 2011

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