Notes from the September 21 county budget listening session

I had posted this on the evening of September 21, albeit not to this site.

About thirty people showed up for the county’s budget listening session, which was held tonight at the Kosciuszko Community Center. As mentioned on Milwaukee County First, this was when the county board’s Finance and Audit Committee would listen to the public’s input on the pending county budget. Most of the committee members were present, and were joined by two supervisors who were not on the committee.

Common themes were people who spoke were: preserve human services, preserve the parks, and preserve the buses.

One man who spoke told the committee that he was reliant on the #68 bus to travel from his home to Froedert Hospital, as well as to go the grocery store each Saturday. Eliminating route 68 would make his life extremely difficult, to say the least.

Several women spoke in favor of Crisis Resource Center. Another spoke of the importance of the county’s UW Extension facilities and the Master Gardener program.

Many people urged the board not to close Kosciuszko Park and the Community Center. Indeed, even though it was pouring rain outside, the gym and exercise facilities inside the center well in active use.

Two people, myself included, urged the board to take action to see that the property tax referendum that county residents approved in 2008 be put into effect. I advised the board to use the county’s lobbyist to urge passage of the improved tax code.

One man identified himself as being from Seattle praised the parks for their presence and importance to the community. A woman as being a “steam valve” that the residents could use either after a bad day, or in a prolonged bad time such as the one we’re in.

Another man spoke about the effects of deferred maintenance on the parks, including the tragedy at O’Donnell Park. That said, he urged the board not to sell the land, as it was a healthy revenue source.

The county executive will submit the 2011 budget to the board on September 30.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.