Mayor Tom Barrett delivered a 2013 proposed executive budget Thursday to the Milwaukee Common Council that provides some relief to property taxpayers, includes no employee layoffs and maintains police staffing, but also includes an agreement to have the city absorb police patrols in parks and 911 communications duties from the county.
Alderman Michael J. Murphy, chair of the Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee, said the 2013 proposed budget reflects the current economic climate, and responsibly plans for major obligations and financial realities. “But because the Council and the Mayor have made some difficult choices in recent years, the Mayor’s proposed budget is able to offer property tax savings of $43 to the average Milwaukee homeowner,” Alderman Murphy said.
If the Council goes along with the Mayor’s proposed levels of municipal service charges, the typical residential property owner would see a modest increase, about $17, in the fees they pay for solid waste and other services.
Alderman Willie L. Hines, Jr., president of the Common Council, said the city finds itself obligated to make a $59.3-million employer contribution from the general fund to employee pensions. The mayor’s plan does this, laying the groundwork to keep pensions funded for the foreseeable future.
“We again find ourselves facing large challenges on multiple fronts,” President Hines said. “But we intend to do so responsibly, meeting today’s obligations in order to remain financially sound tomorrow.”
President Hines said the Council will do its due diligence on the Mayor’s proposal to have Milwaukee Police assume the responsibility of patrolling parks and the lakefront. At the same time, the Mayor would maintain current staffing levels in the department and add some overtime, but also impose three unpaid furlough days on police officers for the first time. In the past, police and firefighters have been exempt from employee furloughs.
“We want to make sure that our police are able to endure this extra work load without stretching themselves too thin,” President Hines said. “The council will review this proposal with a keen eye toward maintaining the level of public safety and service to which our constituents are entitled.”
The Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee will begin its budget hearings on Thursday, October 11th at 9:00 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall. Public testimony is welcomed at the joint public hearing on the budget, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9th in the Common Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells. St.
The full council will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 2nd to adopt a 2013 city budget.