Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability
The County Executive oversees a billion-dollar budget that supports the hundreds of services we provide, from the county justice system to our thriving Parks system to providing housing assistance and beyond. Whether the money to fund these services comes in the form of taxes, fees, donations, other governmental bodies, or grants, we want to make sure every cent is used in a responsible manner that provides short-term and long-term value to the people of our county.
Because costs of things like maintenance, pensions, health care and other expenses are going up at a faster rate than the funds we take in, it’s even more important to keep an eye on the long-term fiscal health of the County. We’re always looking for innovations, efficiencies and smart investments that will ensure we can best serve Milwaukee County today, tomorrow and in the decades to come.
Move Forward MKE
“For years we have been doing more with less as state aids continue to decline, and having the option to generate local revenue represents a watershed moment for us to not only sustain ourselves, but to thrive for generations to come. This plan is the best way forward for us to give Milwaukee County taxpayers the services and programs they deserve.” - County Executive Chris Abele
Move Forward MKE supports allowing Milwaukee County to raise its sales tax by 1 percent to generate new revenue and to dedicate a significant portion of that new revenue to property tax relief - if voters approve through a binding referendum. Property tax relief and new sales tax revenue would be shared between Milwaukee County and its 19 municipalities.
Our proposal gives voters the power to decide if their local government will be allowed to generate the revenue it needs to adequately fund public services, maintain facilities and invest in the future.
If you believe local problems are best solved through local solutions, join our campaign!
In the wake of a comprehensive examination of the County’s pension system that confirmed systemic errors spanning decades, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced the launch of a Retirement Sustainability Taskforce charged with studying comprehensive reforms that will ensure retirement security for future retirees and long-term fiscal sustainability for the County.
The Taskforce meetings will be facilitated by the Public Policy Forum and the Taskforce will also include technical assistance from subject matter experts like The Pew Charitable Trusts’ public sector retirement systems project.
The taskforce will consider multiple options, including, but not limited to, a move to the state system. The state option is an attractive option that needs to be further explored. There are also dozens of other successful modifications that other public and private employers have made over the last decade. These modifications need to be fully understood to determine if they are the right fit for Milwaukee County taxpayers and employees.
Reducing Energy and Emissions in County Buildings
Milwaukee County has entered two of its buildings, representing over 440,000 square feet of office space, into the “Better Buildings Challenge-Milwaukee,” a comprehensive energy efficiency program that provides all of the tools and resources that building owners and property managers need to effectively develop and implement energy efficiency projects in their buildings. By participating in this City of Milwaukee program, the County aims to reduce energy costs, improve services, and increase government transparency. The program’s objectives also include making energy efficiency retrofits easy, affordable, and compelling for commercial building owners and managers.
“Milwaukee’s Better Buildings Challenge complements our long-standing efforts to be more sustainable,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “By optimizing energy performance in our buildings, we can help to ensure that essential services are available to our community now and in the future. Using less energy also helps Milwaukee County reduce greenhouse gas emissions from building operations. This supports the County’s commitment to the principles and goals of the Paris Climate Accord.
Between 2009 and 2015, Milwaukee County implemented more than $9.2 million in energy-saving upgrades in its buildings. Energy use in County buildings is down by about 11 percent versus 2014. In 2016, Wisconsin's Focus on Energy recognized Milwaukee County with the Excellence in Energy Efficiency Award. “As a show of our support, we have entered two of Milwaukee County’s most critical buildings into the Better Buildings Challenge, the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center and Vel R. Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center,” said County Executive Abele. “We want visitors to these buildings to know that the County is a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency.”
Over the past decade, Milwaukee County has implemented over $1 million in energy efficiency improvements at the two buildings. The upgrades, which have included building envelope, lighting and HVAC upgrades, as well as the addition of a solar-powered domestic water heating system, are saving taxpayers an estimated $200,000 in energy costs per year.
“We are thrilled that Milwaukee County is participating in the Better Buildings Challenge,” said City of Milwaukee Environmental Sustainability Director, Erick Shambarger. “And we challenge every commercial building owner in Milwaukee to work with the program to cut their energy use so we can collectively improve our environment.”