Milwaukee County

Wisconsin DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

The order to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake was prompted by Act 185, which also mandated that the youth prisons be replaced with state-run facilities for serious offenders and regional county-run centers for youth with less serious offenses.

Milwaukee County had plans to build a new secure youth correctional facility with 80 beds, but that plan fell apart when the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee cut funds for the proposed facility.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

There's been a shifting of a major COVID-19 vaccination site in the Milwaukee area and more sites are coming — eventually. Some of the locations could help ease racial disparities in vaccinations that include fewer Black and Latino people receiving the vaccine than their percentages in the population.

Eric Allix Rogers / flickr

Milwaukee County is going to make another attempt to raise the local sales tax to pay for services. County Executive David Crowley says he and partners plan to ask the Republican-controlled legislature to approve a binding referendum asking local voters to increase the sales tax by 1%.

The county would use the extra revenue for mental health services, as well as COVID-19 and property tax relief.

Screenshot of Milwaukee County Daily Update on Covid-19 Zoom meeting.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele signed one last ordinance into law Wednesday before leaving office at the end of the week. The measure reaffirms the county’s commitment to racial equity and eliminating health disparities.

This comes a year after the county declared racism a public health crisis.

Susan Bence

Milwaukee County Parks is rich in green space — 157 parks and a total of more than 15,300 acres of green space — but less well off when it comes to funding. The system has $362,000 more in tax levy in 2020 than was allotted in 2019, but over the past decade the parks department has reduced tax levy funding and has turned to direct revenue to fill in the gap.

LaToya Dennis

Milwaukee County leaders want to put a binding referendum on the ballot that would raise the county sales tax by 1%. But before the county can take that step, it needs approval from the state legislature.

City and county officials say the goal is to not only reduce the property tax here, but to also create a new source of revenue.

endymion120, flickr

When a disaster strikes, we want emergency services to be there as fast as humanly possible. We want to know the people who arrive on scene are properly trained to the highest standard and that they can quickly communicate and coordinate with other city and county departments and agencies.

Susan Bence

Updated on June 11 at 2:12 p.m. CT

Milwaukee County is home to more than 15,000 acres of parkland. Keeping those spaces green and healthy is daunting, especially as funding diminishes and park crews are cut. While many people cherish public green spaces, some worry about the pesticides that Milwaukee County Parks uses to manage the land.

Marti Mikkelson

For the fifth summer in a row, thousands of people have flocked to Milwaukee County’s beer gardens to sample an array of beer and kick back with family and friends. The county experimented with the idea in 2012 – and now more beer gardens are popping up across the area. They appear to have accomplished their purpose of bringing people back to the parks.

Milwaukee County supervisors are not holding regular office hours the way they did in the past. A new state law took effect nearly a year ago; it cut supervisors’ salaries in half, eliminated their health care benefits and reduced their terms from four years to two. WUWM spoke with some board members about how they’re adjusting to part-time status.

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The finance committee of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing earlier this week on County Executive Chris Abele’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

Michelle Maternowski

For the past eight years, people who live in Milwaukee have been paying an additional $20 to register their vehicles. Now, Milwaukee County residents may have to cough up an additional $60. That’s what County Executive Chris Abele will formally introduce in his 2017 budget proposal Monday. He says the so-called wheel tax is necessary in order to plug a hole in the transit budget. An increasing number of local governments across Wisconsin are considering the option.

A vehicle registration fee is Milwaukee County's only option for raising new revenue to sustain transit, according to County Executive Chris Abele, because no state approval is needed. Gov. Walker has opposed any increase in the sales or income tax. Abele estimates a $60 annual fee charged to people who own vehicles here would raise $27 million a year to help pay for the transit system and to fund annual bus replacements, as well as to repairs to county highways, parkways and bridges.

S Bence

Many Milwaukee County residents who attended a hearing Wednesday night at the Washington Park Senior Center don't like the thought of having to pay to park along the lakefront or a wheel tax, in order to help plug a $56 million budget shortfall.

Marti Mikkelson

Major structural changes take effect Monday for the Milwaukee County Board – right after supervisors take the oath of office. A new state law will cut their salaries in half, eliminate their health care benefits and reduce their terms from four years to two.

State Republicans initiated those changes after hearing complaints about board members micro-managing the county and the high cost of a full-time board. Voters agreed.

WUWM talks with a few supervisors about how they plan to adjust.

domes
S Bence

On Tuesday, a Milwaukee County board committee approved spending another $500,000 to help move along repairs to the Mitchell Park Domes. Projected expenses are mounting county-wide for deferred maintenance projects. The cost of saving the domes could run $75 million. And recent estimates put the cost of replacing the aging county safety building at $190 million. While the county faces important choices, there is one option to help government’s lower costs.

LaToya Dennis

The relationship between Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee County Board is contentious. Abele scored a slight victory on Monday after a judge dismissed the case Milwaukee County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb’s brought against Abele.   

Back in October of 2015, Lipscomb sued Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Lipscomb says two issues are at the heart of the lawsuit.

Justin Hofmann, flickr

We will soon learn how many people are interested in serving on the Milwaukee County Board – now that it’s becoming a part-time job. Candidates can begin circulating nomination papers today, Dec. 1.

The state has imposed structural changes on the board. The one that will kick in, following April’s election, is that the job of supervisor will become half-time – in terms of salary and benefits.

Milwaukee County

Previously on Lake Effect, County Executive Chris Abele commented on the county’s budget for the coming fiscal year.  The County Board passed an amended version that restores cuts to the budget for the Sheriff’s office, and includes an increase in the county’s tax levy.

Chris Abele Weighs in on Fiscal Year 2016

Nov 12, 2015
County Executive Chris Abele / facebook.com

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors this week passed an amended budget for the coming fiscal year.  The changes were made to what was proposed by County Executive Chris Abele. 

The new document has some key similarities to what Abele proposed but also some major differences.  Abele is expected to make vetoes of parts in the coming days, and the County Board will follow with a meeting at which the vetoes can be overridden.

Jenni Konrad, flickr

Milwaukee County supervisors anticipate a packed house at the Mitchell Park Domes Monday night as they hold their annual public hearing on the budget. Supervisors are considering a $1.3 billion spending plan for 2016.

Board member Pat Jursik says many topics stir passion among county residents and bring them to the full board's public hearing each year. Topics including parks and transit.

Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb on Thursday filed a lawsuit against County Executive Chris Abele.  Lipscomb says he has serious concerns over extent of the County

frankieleon / Flickr

The budgeting process has begun for the coming fiscal year for both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.  The Common Council and Board of Supervisors, respectively, will consider the budgets proposed by the Mayor and the County Executive.

Milwaukee County Executive Race Will Have Democrats Divided

Oct 19, 2015
Urban Milwaukee

While we’re still more than a year away from the presidential election, we’re a little closer to another race that is shaping up to be an interesting one. The election for Milwaukee County Executive happens in April, and thus far pits incumbent Chris Abele against State Senator Chris Larson.

A prominent Democratic lawmaker wants to shake up the Milwaukee County Executive’s office.

State Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee announced Monday that he will challenge incumbent Chris Abele in April.

The election promises to be competitive.

Larson announced his bid outside his childhood home in Greenfield. Flanked by his parents, wife and two small children, Larson said he’s been mulling his decision for months.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele gave his budget address Wednesday. He picked both a location and an audience for the speech that have not been the norm.

Every Milwaukee County executive must propose next year's budget by October 1. So for years, execs delivered the budget at the county board's September meeting, in the courthouse.

But Wednesday, Chris Abele outlined his plan for 2016 at the Pritzlaff Building downtown.

Milwaukee County

With the state budget complete, cities and counties are set to begin work on their fiscal plans for the coming year.  The City of Milwaukee holds a preliminary budget hearing later this week.

At the County level, the budget process will play out with new leadership. Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb was recently elected to chair the board, replacing Marina Dimitrijevic.

S Bence

Besides weakening Wisconsin's open records law, other last-minute items Republican legislators inserted into the proposed state budget on Thursday include allowing a seven-day work week and requiring municipalities with water and sewer utilities to service neighbors who need it.

Milwaukee County supervisors hope the public takes note of another addition. It would transfer more power to the county executive, including authority over county land along Milwaukee's downtown lakefront.

Photos.com

Milwaukee County has been grappling for years with how to handle problems with its pension program.

WUWM

While the county board refused to sell O'Donnell Park on Thursday, the board agreed to sell the nearby transit garage, for development of a high-rise.

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