Responsible Choices for Milwaukee County

Friend –
For far too long there has been talk about tackling the higher than average crime, poverty, and unemployment rates facing many of Milwaukee’s diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, but there has been little to no meaningful action.
To get to the roots of these problems, we must make deeper investments in workforce development, addressing income inequality, criminal justice reform, public safety and mental health, and transportation.
My 2017 Recommended Budget reflects my commitment to tackle the challenges facing Milwaukee County, invest in sustainable programs and infrastructure that help people live better lives, and continue building the foundation for a stronger, healthier community.
This budget demonstrates that investing in our people and in our communities doesn’t have to come at the expense of fiscal responsibility; by making smart, but tough, decisions we can add millions of dollars in neighborhood development and public safety initiatives while still protecting the taxpayers.

  • The Boys and Girls Club of Milwaukee will receive $55,000 a year for the next three years to add a Youth Career Development project manager to serve teenagers in Sherman Park and other areas. In 2015, more than 300 teenagers found employment through the efforts of the Boys and Girls Club, and this funding will expand their efforts. To complement these efforts, County Executive Abele is adding $500,000 in new funding for his existing UpLift MKE jobs training and placement program. UpLift MKE, which solely serves individuals living in neighborhoods with high levels of poverty and unemployment, has placed more than 100 people in jobs averaging more than $15 per hour since beginning earlier this year.

  • The Department of Delinquency and Court Services plans to create a new staff-secure Residential Treatment Center that will serve as a “step down” program for high-risk delinquent youth who have been discharged from juvenile corrections or related programs but who are in need of additional treatment in a structured residential program

  • Increasing the number of Crisis Mobile Teams bringing resources to individuals in crisis, rather than requiring them to come to treatment locations Expanding hours at the two Crisis Resource Centers, which offer both clinical and peer support, to seven days a week, 24 hours per day

  • The House of Corrections plans a major expansion of its job training efforts as one of 20 correctional facilities nationwide to offer an American Jobs Center within the facility. This center, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor, will help inmates build job skills and will provide them ongoing support as they transition back into the community – and into employment

The SAVE Transit Plan

Acknowledging our massive transportation infrastructure needs, my budget proposes a plan that will allow Milwaukee County to make substantive investments into our roads and bus system. During my tenure as County Executive, we’ve been able to reverse a 10 year trend of fare increases and route cuts. My plan will allow the County to build on this success and make strategic investments to expand service.
Major components of the plan include:

  • A dedicated transportation revenue source - registration fee of $60 per vehicle – that will be used to fund road repairs and the bus system.

  • Linking downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Campus with rush hour travel times competitive with driving - via Bus Rapid Transit

  • Reforming the GO Pass to a sustainable program that will remain accessible to seniors and people with disabilities who have limited means

According to a report by the Public Policy Forum, Milwaukee County will be forced to scrap badly needed critical infrastructure repairs or dramatically reduce services without increased funding for transportation. They acknowledge that a vehicle registration fee is the only legal way for the County to raise enough revenue.
Milwaukee County must make the responsible decision and take leadership on this issue today in order to provide a good quality of life for all its residents.

While I understand that some parts of this budget, the vehicle registration fee in particular, sound tough, the alternative is worse — without new revenue the County is simply not able to maintain the level of service we currently provide. At listening sessions over the summer I heard from dozens of constituents who overwhelmingly said they would rather see new revenues than service cuts. This valuable input from the community helped inform my decision-making on the budget.

The County Budget is now in the hands of the County Board. They’ll hear from the public, review the budget, and make amendments. Today, I’m asking for your support for my proposal. Please contact your supervisor and tell them that you want to see Milwaukee County continue providing excellent service, paying down debt, and making improvements to our infrastructure.
Click here to find your County Supervisor or call 414–278–4222.


Chris Abele
Milwaukee County Executive

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on October 25, 2016

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