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Realtor: Workers Will Stay Put, Despite Residency Rule Change

Brad Lindert/Flickr

The Joint Finance Committee is supposed to conclude its state budget revisions this week ahead of a full legislative vote this month. Along with tax and spending changes, the budget includes a proposal to lift residency requirements for most public workers.

Many have debated whether that residency rule change will affect services delivered or even harm local communities.

That includes realtors who wonder if the local housing market, particularly in the city, could be affected by workers moving from their currently required zip codes.

But Mike Ruzicka, president of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, says there won't be a mass exodus of workers from Milwaukee. Rather, he expects there to be a minimal migration from the city.

Moreover, he says any vacated homes would likely find new owners or occupants quickly - allaying some fears that city blocks would be filled with unoccupied homes.

Governor Scott Walker had wanted to do away with the restrictions completely. The budget committee softened that position, allowing municipalities to require fire, police and emergency personnel to live within 15 miles of the entities they serve.

Nothing is final until the budget becomes law, but the committee’s plan is likely to take effect next month.