Mayor Tom Barrett delivered a 2012 proposed executive budget to theMilwaukee Common Council that holds the line on taxes, includes no employee layoffs, preserves public safety and other city services, but also presents some serious challenges.
Ald. Michael J. Murphy, chair of the Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee, said the 2012 proposed budget reflects the current economic climate, and specifically addresses major obligations and financial realities. “But because of the difficult choices made by the Council and the Mayor in recent years, theMayor’s proposed budget would increase the tax levy by less than two-thirds of one percent,” Alderman Murphy said.
If the Council goes along with the Mayor’s proposed level of municipal service charges (snow and ice removal fee, etc.), the typical residential property owner would see a 1.4% increase ($20) from the impact of the tax levy and municipal charges. The proposed budget is also reflective of the current tough economic times for families, including city workers who are now making pension contributions and paying increased health insurance costs.
Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr. said WisconsinAct 10, approved by the state Legislature earlier this year, compels all public employees to make direct pension contributions. This issue was rightly addressed by the Mayor in his remarks to the Council today, he said.
“We face large challenges on several fronts, made more difficult because of declining property values, huge pension obligations, and the state budget. We have also lost $12 million in state aid, and a $1.1 million reduction in our recycling grant,” President Hines said.
“During our budget deliberations we will look at using all of the ‘tools’we have in our toolbox, and work toward adopting a budget that is fair and balanced for our employees – given our circumstances – and one that preserves services and does not diminish public safety,” President Hines said.
TheMayor’s proposed budget also includes roll backs of cuts made to the Milwaukee Public Library. The 2012 budget restores hours and services that will increase library access and programming at the Central Library and neighborhood branches, focusing on expanded youth literacy programs and helping students finish school assignments during after school hours.
The Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee will begin its budget hearings onMonday, October 10 at 9 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall (see attached schedule). The joint public hearing on the budget will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11 in the Common Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E.Wells St.
The full Council will meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, November 4 to adopt a 2012 city budget.