August 15, 2023
Milwaukee County Launches Balancing Act Tool to Encourage Public Input on First Budget Surplus in Over 20 Years
Milwaukee County forecasts a $31.6M budget surplus
MILWAUKEE, WI – On the heels of the historic July vote to enable a long-term solution to secure Milwaukee County’s fiscal future, the county is re-launching the Balancing Act tool to gather public input on community priorities for the first budget surplus in over two decades.
The surplus is a direct result of Act 12 which was passed by the State of Wisconsin, which provided Milwaukee County the option to increase its sales tax rate by 0.4%. The surplus position for 2024 is not expected to be permanent in future years because the County will continue to have financial challenges to address going forward. It will be important for the County to strategically invest available funds.
“After securing additional revenue and forecasting the first budget surplus in over twenty years, it is an exciting time for Milwaukee County and the residents we serve. While the additional revenue provides the flexibility needed to avoid draconian cuts across the board, we are still tasked with being good stewards of public funds and avoiding financial peril for future leaders,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “As with every budget, I am committed to honesty, transparency, and accountability throughout the entire process. The road ahead for Milwaukee County is paved with great opportunities to improve the lives of our residents. By intentionally finding ways to include the voice of the public, I’m confident our budget priorities will reflect the needs of the people who live here.”
Balancing Act gives residents a simple, interactive way to provide input on the upcoming 2024 Milwaukee County budget. Revenues and expenditures in the 2024 simulation reflect local tax levy allocations to departments. Balancing Act has been used for past County budgets, the tool provides users more details on the County’s expenditure categories and revenue options available to the County – as well as their impacts on County residents. View the Balancing Act tool here. Balancing Act will be closed for input on Friday, October 6.
The 2024 Balancing Act simulation starts with a surplus projection of $31.6 million and provides users with the opportunity to submit priorities for spending. The County has many needs to be addressed in areas that have historically been under-funded, including our parks, transit system, courts and judiciary, health and human services and other programs.
In addition to Balancing Act, Milwaukee County is hosting four in-person town halls. Budget town halls are an opportunity for residents to hear about the county vision and mission, get connected to key resources, and share their thoughts regarding the upcoming budget.
Residents can register to attend any of the town halls at county.milwaukee.gov/budget2024. In addition to budget presentations, each in-person town hall will include a resource fair where residents can connect with County departments to access available services and inquire about employment opportunities.