Preserving transit, raising the tax levy, and addressing public safety concerns. Those were just some of the actions that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors took Tuesday when they passed the $1.18 billion 2020 budget.
While it was mostly uncontroversial, supervisors did make a few amendments striking some measures from County Executive Chris Abele's proposal. Such as, Abele's idea to eliminate the work release program at the county jail. This would allow people to be released and be monitored electronically. Abele says the change would save $1.7 million.
However, supervisors didn't pass the measure. Supervisor Tony Staskunas explains that what informed him to strike this program was the response from the judiciary.
"The judges expressed concern about the implementation of the program. Certainly what they talked about was gathering some information, figuring out how the program would be implemented, also obviously factoring in public safety," says Staskunas.
Another major change supervisors made was increasing the property tax levy by 2.28%. Abele had originally proposed an increase of 2.51%. However, County Chairman Theo Lipscomb says the impact on the individual property owner is yet to be determined.
"It's always a challenge to explain what the impact will be to any individual property tax payer because there is not a simple way to say that. It really depends on how your property performed relative to others," says Lipscomb.
Supervisors also came up with alternative ways to service riders who were impacted by proposed transit cuts — by using rideshare options rather than a full sized bus.
The budget passed with a 14-4 vote.