Budget season awaits

I took a moment to see how the upcoming county budget season would shape out. I’d known for a while that the new budget will come from County Executive Chris Abele’s office on September 29. And the budget process would end in early November. That was correct, November 7th will be our truly, epically long budget adoption meeting. So, from 9/29 to 11/7, I’ll be a troll—the sort that is rarely seen by the light of day. While I don’t think the budget will turn my skin green nor my teeth into jagged spikes, I don’t anticipate it will be terribly pleasant. But we’ll see.

All I know right now is that we stand to make a 10% reduction the County Transit System, which will put a lot of people out of work, and badly inconvenience many, many more. It will definitely be life-changing for the thousands of people who depend on it.

Our cultural institutions stand to take a hit, too. We the taxpayers own the Milwaukee Public Museum, among others. The county also provides funding for the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Charles Allis Art Museum, and the Milwaukee County War Memorial, all on the lakefront. We own and operate several horticultural institutions as well, most famously the Mitchell Park Domes. And there are the dozens of county-owned (read: public) parks. We’ll find out in short order what’s going to befall them.

So basically the next county budget should make it harder to live a productive, engaging, and quality life here. That’s what you get when you shrink the government. Happy with it? Feel accomplished? Just wait till its effects hit home. Then ask yourself those questions again.

• • •

I will be hosting, co-hosting, or attending a total of five budget listening sessions and town hall meetings. The first two are the transit listening sessions that I am co-hosting with Supervisor Jursik of Cudahy and Kerry Thomas of Transit NOW. They are tomorrow, September 13.

Tuesday, September 13, 4:30 – 5:30 & 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Cudahy Library, Winter Garden Room
3500 Library Drive (accessible from MCTS Route 15)

Next month, I will be co-hosting a third meeting in Bay View with Supervisor Dimitrijevic, and hosting one of my own after that.

Monday October 10: South Shore Park Pavilion, 2900 S. Shore Drive, 6-7PM

Tuesday October 25: Wilson Park Senior Center, 2601 W. Howard Avenue, 6-7PM

Then after that is the big public hearing on the budget. That’s usually at the Washington Park Senior Center.

Monday, October 31, 7:00 P.M.

Got all that?

Then on November 3 is a county board meeting, followed the next week by the ultra-marathon budget adoption meeting on November 7. We will have a meeting on Wednesday, November 16 to consider any budget vetoes that the county executive has made. They will be voted up or down, or really, supported or overridden.

With that, the budget will be done. It takes effect January 1, 2012. And then we’ll see how it looks form there.

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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.