Monday, November 10, 2008

2009 Milwaukee County Adopted Budget

I spent 11 hours on the hard wooden benches at the Milwaukee County Courthouse today to watch the County Board discuss, vote, discuss some more, vote some more and finally adapt the 2009 Amended Budget. As prematurely reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the County Board started the day on a high note and went a long way to repairing Walker's draconian and myopic budget proposal.

Unfortunately, by the end of the day, the will of the pro-County County Board Supervisors buckled a bit to the anti-County County Board Supervisors. I will attempt to give you, gentle reader, some of the highlights from today's procedures, and will try to fill in the details as the week progresses and time allows.

Obviously, since it was only finalized this evening, the County hasn't put the updated budget on their website, but you can refer to the above link if you feel the need. I am equally sure that MJS will also have a fuller version in tomorrow's paper.

The overall result of the adopted budget will be a 3.12% increase in the tax levy from last years budget. One can compare this to the 3.85% increase last year, which Walker called a good budget. In hard dollars, this comes to be a little over $7 million. The bad news is 74 men and women lose their jobs due to Walker's focus on his Quixotic endeavor to be governor.

Some of the highlights (remember I will flesh it out as time and information allows)(Disclaimer: I do not yet have a record of who voted which way on which amendment, and may be incorrect on one or two of the votes):
  • They allowed Walker's 26% raise to Tom Nardelli stand (How nice that Walker can give his cronies big raises in a budget where he wants to lay off more than 300 workers. Nardelli, by the way, if he finishes Walker's current term, will be receiving not only his city pension, his veteran pension, but also a county pension.)
  • The Board added $125K to the Men of Color Task Force (An agency to help fathers and other men of color to get job training and employment support)
  • The Board added $150K for a Summer Youth Employment Program
  • They failed to restore seven positions for IT support, and allowed this to be contracted out (No word on how this might affect the contract to provide tech support to Cudahy)
  • They restored 26 jobs in the Courthouse
  • They restored three correctional officer positions and restored funding for four other positions that had been unfunded
  • They restored 5.5 jobs in Child Support Enforcement
  • They restored six positions in the Register of Deeds
  • They allowed the House of Corrections to fall under the auspices of the Sherrif's Office
  • They restored funding for the Job Development and Job Readiness services, as well as funding for the Farm and Fish Hatchery
  • They added $50K to fund Career Youth Development for the Victory Over Violence Grief Counseling and Survivor Center Initiative
  • They put off any attempts to privatize the airport for at least a year
  • They restored all but two positions in Fleet Management
  • They restored Transit Route 11 from 60th and Vliet to downtown and Route 17 (Canal Street)
  • They cut some of Walker's fare increases for transit services
  • They restored the housekeeping and targeted case management positions at the mental health complex. They had originally restored the food service positions, but allowed Walker to do his profiteering with those positions.
  • After a long debate, they barely restored the positions for the Call Center which fields calls regarding people applying for or renewing economic aid services. (There are some odd things about this issue. One thing is that Walker's proposed privatization would diminish the number of workers that could actually help people by two thirds and at a higher price. The other thing is that most of the board recognized that the problem lied directly with Walker and his administration's refusal to fill the necessary positions, even though they were fully funded. Some board members accused Walker and staff of sabotaging the program in an effort to promote privatizing it. Another oddity is that one of the entities that Walker proposed to take it over was IMPACT, which runs the 211 hotline. This is the same agency that Walker has tried to cut in every budget since its inception.)
  • They restored all the park worker positions, denied consolidating the King and Kosciuszko Community Centers. They also decreased the fees for the marina and golf courses and eliminated the increase for the swimming pools. They also denied Walker's request for parking meters at the lakefront.
  • The board also added $50K for recreation and/or exercise equipment at the Community Centers, added 50K to support the Black Holocaust Museum and $50K to operate the Hales Corners swimming pool (Supervisors Cesarz, Rice, and Sanfellipo who were voting no to almost every amendment had no problems raising the tax levy for the HC swimming pool. Draw your own conclusions)
  • They put in $160K to move the UW-Extension to the former Child and Adolescent Treatment Center on the county grounds in Tosa
  • They added the bike racks to the buses (which had no impact on the tax levy)
  • They all but killed the foolish idea of moving the mental health complex to St. Michael's and provided funding for further study and design to build a new structure on the county grounds in Tosa. One spot that was suggested was near the Ronald McDonald House.
  • They restored $1 million for special needs housing
  • After another lengthy debate and with much reluctance they authorized funding for SEWPRC

Overall, I guess the amended budget isn't too bad, but it isn't too great either. I would have preferred to see them save the jobs and cut some other things. As I said above, I will flesh out details later.

1 comment:

  1. Well done. You've earned the title "Watchdog".