November 2006 Bay View Compass Editorial
Dear Bay View Compass Readers,
First of all, I would like to personally thank the many residents of the 4th District who have taken an active role in Milwaukee County Government, hearing your opinions makes representing you easier. I appreciate the time you've taken to contact my office with your concerns about the 2007 Recommended Milwaukee County Budget. I also thank those of you who attended the listening sessions I have hosted over the past few weeks throughout our neighborhood. I've listened. I've heard your concerns. I understand that you don't want to lose the quality of life resources Milwaukee County offers such as our Parks System, Pools, Public Safety, Services for the Mentally Ill and Disabled, and the Transit System.
In addition, over 500 people attended the County Board Public Hearing regarding the 2007 Budget on October 30th. A strong message was conveyed by the speakers- that we value our key services while recognizing the importance of the social investment we must make to maintain our quality of life in Milwaukee County.
The Milwaukee County Board is taking a stand against the further deterioration of County Services and Infrastructure. County Executive Scott Walker handed us a budget full of holes and misguided policy, similar to a blighted house with crumbling walls and a leaky roof. From selling off County-owned parkland on the lakefront to private developers to closing pools that the public depends on and enjoys. He also increased bus fares nearly 20% for the system's highest users, school children, and disabled persons. The Finance and Audit Committee of the County Board has worked diligently to clean up this unacceptable mess.
I co-sponsored an amendment that has been adopted by the Finance and Audit Committee, which restores funding to keep our county pools open. Wading pool hours will be staggered to maximize customer service. We have also extended hours for the deep well pools from 1:00pm-5:00pm to 11:00am-7:00pm-an initiative that provides more services and is sure to produce more revenue. In addition, nearly $1 million in funding has been approved to provide the long-overdue maintenance in many of our pools so that we may reverse the trend of deterioration and preserve these resources for future generations.
The Finance Committee has reversed the cut made to our cultural assets including the War Memorial Center, Performing Arts Center, CAMPAC, Villa Terrace/Charles Allis Museum, and the Historical Society. I also co-sponsored an adopted amendment to deny the transfer of Bender Park to the City of Oak Creek for private development. The Committee also committed $1 million for affordable, quality, housing for persons with mental illness, which will provide a safety net for our most vulnerable neighbors. Public safety is a huge concern in our community yet County Executive Scott Walker proposed cutting bailiffs for courtroom security from 71 to 63 posts, compromising the safety of our jurors and Judges. He also eliminated 16 deputy sheriffs who assist with warrant and arrest orders. He also proposed a cut of $2 million in the district attorney's office, which would dramatically reduce staffing and ultimately result in the slower prosecution of criminals. Access to safe and efficient justice is a right of all citizens and therefore the County Board has supported restoring cuts to services in public safety.
Once again, I've heard you. It's time to preserve, protect, and promote these vital quality of life services. I encourage County Executive Walker to keep his veto pen in his pocket and support the County Board's Recommended Budget, a renovation in progress.
Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic
MILWAUKEE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Courthouse Room 201, 901 North 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233
PHONE: 414-278-4232 FAX: 414-223-1380