November 7, 2013 — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett signed the 2014 City Budget Thursday, a plan that invests in neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures, allocates money for new neighborhood libraries, hires 120 police officers, and increases funds to improve roadways through the high-impact street program.
The overall plan calls for spending $1.4-billion, $54-million less than last year. With a 1.4% increase in the tax levy, the average residential property will see taxes and fees rise $16.94. The Mayor signed the budget without vetoing any of the modest revisions passed by the Milwaukee Common Council.
“We have worked cooperatively with the Common Council to finalize a budget that protects taxpayers and keeps this government on a fiscally responsible track,” Mayor Barrett said. “I want to thank President Willie Hines, Finance Committee Chair Michael Murphy, and all the Council members for their thoughtful work.”
Mayor Barrett signed the budget in a city-owned, tax-foreclosed property at 3417 North Sherman Boulevard to highlight one of the most important initiatives in next year’s budget, the Strong Neighborhoods Investment Plan. This $11.7-million initiative uses a set of strategies to prevent and mitigate the negative effects of foreclosures as well as revitalize and renew impacted properties and neighborhoods.
“This is a beautiful house in a neighborhood with inherent strength. It ought to be a family’s home once again, and that is what my Strong Neighborhoods Investment Plan aims to accomplish here and at hundreds of other foreclosed houses in Milwaukee,” Mayor Barrett said.
The Mayor’s original proposal to hire 100 police officers next year was amended by the Council to increase that number to 120. The budget includes conversion of some federally funded police positions to local funding, and, with anticipated retirements, the overall number of police officers in Milwaukee will increase slightly.
The budget includes a significant financial commitment to neighborhood libraries. Funds are included to initiate replacement of both Forest Home Library and Mill Road Library, and the budget also includes funding for a renovation of Tippecanoe Library.
The budget includes infrastructure investments in bridges, streets, and lighting. It supports economic development efforts at Century City and the Reed Street Yards, and it includes health department initiatives to reduce infant mortality.
“We have thoughtfully managed our financial obligations so that important city services are provided, infrastructure is maintained, and we are not pushing debt or pension obligations off to the future,” Mayor Barrett said. “Milwaukee has a lot of strengths, and this budget builds on those strengths.”