The Fighting 14th!

The official blog of Milwaukee County Supervisor Jason Haas

Archive for the tag “Milwaukee County”

2015 Proposed Milwaukee County Budget

Here it is.

And here the struggle fun begins.


Board Actions on February 7, 2013

Below is the press release dealing everything that the County Board voted on at our last meeting.

It’s worth noting that most of the action, as it were, happens in our committee meetings. The work of the committees then goes to the full board for consideration and a final vote. Virtually everything was unanimously approved, including the final and most controversial item.


For Immediate Release February 8, 2013
Contact:  Velia Alvarez, Public Information Manager, 414/278-4230


· 16-0 to authorize and direct the Director of Health and Human Services and the BHD Administrator to develop a detailed implementation plan for mental health redesign in Milwaukee County (Originally directed in adopted resolution File No. RES 11-284)
· 16-0 to layover the confirmations of Supervisors: Alexander, Jursik, Lipscomb, and Taylor to War Memorial Corporation Board of Trustees for one cycle. (Items 2,4,5 and 6)
· 16-0 confirmation appointing Supervisor Russell W. Stamper II to Milwaukee Art Museum Board for a term expiring June 1st 2014. (Item 3)
· 16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Finance, Personnel and Audit adopted, reports were received and placed on file. (Items 7-23)
· 16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Health and Human Needs were adopted; reports were received and placed on file. (Items 24-33)
· 16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Judiciary, Safety and General Services were adopted; reports were received and placed on file. (Items 34,35,37- 44)
· 13-3 (No: Borkowski, Mayo and Taylor) to authorize Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to set forth a model for the provision of shared services and transition of management of the County Correctional Facility- South from the office of the Sheriff to the Executive Branch. Effective April 2013. (Item 36)
· 16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Parks, Energy and Environment, were adopted, reports were received and placed on file. (Items 45-50,52)
· 14-2 (No: Broderick and Jursik) requesting authorization to amend the Weigel Brocasting Co. and Hearst Corporation Lease Agreements by redirecting Parks general revenue to the designated Estabrook Dam Trust Account. (Item 51)
· 16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Transportation, Public Works and Transit were adopted; reports were received and placed on file. (Items 53-59) Item 58 file 13-97 was adopted by the Finance, Personnel and Audit committee, moot in TPW.
· 16-0 all resolutions and ordinances from the committee on Economic and Community Development, reports were received and placed on file. (Items 60-64)
· 16-0 to request Audit Services Division of the office of the Comptroller to confirm that independent outside audit meets professional auditing standards. (Item 65)
· 14-2 (No: Broderick and Mayo) DAS requesting authorization to retain Reinhart Boerner and Van Deuren S.C. for legal services related to the downtown Transit Center and to extend legal services contract by $100,000. (Item 66)All other items on today’s agenda were approved with no objection.  The complete digest agenda from today’s meeting can be found on the County Legislative Information Center:

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 200 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.


County Board Meeting 02/07/13 Results

As provided by our Chief Committee Clerk: 

County Board Meeting 02/07/13 Results (2 seats vacant until spring election)


Approved Unanimous Voice Vote 16-0

Unfinished Business (1)

Item 1 File 12-850 Adopted as Substituted 16-0

Confirmation (2-6)

Item 3 File 13-98 Confirmed 16-0

Items 2, 4, 5 & 6 Laid Over one cycle 16-0

Finance Personnel & Audit (7-23)

All Adopted 16-0

Health and Human Needs (24-33)

All Adopted 16-0

Judiciary (34-44)

Item 36 File 12-987 Adopted 13-3 No: Borkowski, Mayo and Taylor

Balance Adopted 16-0

Parks (45-52)

Item 51 File 13-120 Adopted 14-2 No: Broderick and Jursik

Balance Adopted 16-0

TPW (53-59)

Item 58 File 13-97 Adopted in FPA (Moot in TPW)

All Adopted 16-0


ECD (60-64)

All Adopted 16-0

Special JUD & ECD (66)

Item 66 File 13-152 Adopted 14-2 No: Broderick and Mayo


Resolution Presented Under Suspension of the Rules (65)

Item 65 Adopted as Substituted 16-0 Cosponsor Supervisor Alexander


Transit Claims Disallowed Approved Unanimous Voice Vote 16-0

Citations Approved Unanimous Voice Vote 16-0

Commenced at 9:50 am

Recessed from 11:00 am until 11:26 am

Adjourned at 12:17 pm

(All times approximate)

* * * * * *

 All in all, most items passed unanimously, 16-0.  (We are down by two until the April 2013 election, when new occupants for the two vacant seats will be elected by the people of the districts.) One of the most consequential items was voting to increase the amount we would pay outside legal council to look at the public trust doctrine issues surrounding the proposed construction on the current site of the Downtown Transit Center. Of course, that won’t be what gets the headlines… and even that passed unanimously in the end.

Busy week ahead: 3 committee meetings, 2 community meetings

This week will be rather busy.  The Parks, Energy and Environment Committee meets on Tuesday, and my “SuperPass” resolutionis on deck that day. Its purpose is to form “a Workgroup to explore a Super Pass for various park, recreation and culture facilities with the purchase of one card.”  I have often tried to wrap my brain around the myriad admissions and membership policies of the many County Attractions ad cultural institutions, but it proved to be a bit above my pay grade. The groups’ heads together under the auspices of the chairman of VISIT Milwaukee, whom I know has a hunch on how to make something work.

Still on Parks Committee, the Quarterly Financial Update from the Milwaukee Public Museum may prove quite interesting. Also, the committee will approve and adopt the Parks Department’s 5-year Capital Development Plan, which hopes to get some of the $250 million of deferred maintenance taken care of.

Time Warner Cable is seeking a “limited term easement to  to allow for the placement of a new fiber optic conduit packet under park property to better serve the public.” This is at Lake Park, in particular. We’ll see what the Friends of Lake Park think o that proposal.

Finally, there is a resolution “authorizing the Public Art Program and Committee to be placed on an official hiatus to last no longer than the duration of 2012, while the County Executive along with the Department of Administrative Services provide reports on how to successfully locate an adequate funding source that will allow for the program’s reactivation and continuity, as outlined in County Board policy.”

The above is all Parks Committee stuff.  Then on Thursday is the  Finance and Audit Committee meeting, And here’s the agenda (PDF). Following that on Friday is the Personnel Committee meeting, some of the content from that meeting will overlap with the  Finance and Audit—hence our interest in combining the two committees.

Back to Monday. I had a meeting earlier today with Chris Linberg, former Executive Manager of Technology Services for MillerCoors, now the Milwaukee County Information Management Director.  Chris has made a big jump from MillerCoors to the County, and I’m very glad he’s on board. With him, we will be able to start moving into the 21st century. Like me, he was struck by the amount of drift that has occurred in the County over the past many years. A lot of things are stuck in the past, simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done. With Chris’s help, we will change that for the better.

This afternoon we have a meeting at General Mitchell International Airport concerning the 128th Air Refueling Wing. The County Board has approved the concept of keeping the 128th here.  The meeting is with local businesses who may be affected if and when the federal government and Air Force decide to keep the 128th here and wish to expand it.

Wednesday has the Airport Gateway Business Improvement District’s annual meeting, and a County Dept. of Transportation lunch event. On Thursday we have the Army Corps of Engineers open house on the KK River rehabilitation, which runs from 4-7PM at the Jackson Park Boathouse, 3500 W. Forest Home Ave, Milwaukee.

Three committee meetings. Lots of phone calls and other events. Not too shabby.

Shakespeare in the Courts: My speech to the County Board

At the December 15, 2011 meeting of the Milwaukee County Board, arguably the most controversial item on our agenda was about the Shakespeare in the Courts (SITC) resolution from Supervisor Gerry Broderick. This caught the ear of many people, who wondered why the County, with all its difficulties, would want to spend money trying to make jail inmates learn and perform Shakespeare.

Why, of all things, Shakespeare?  Why not spend the money just keeping them locked up and off the streets?

The very thought of teaching prison inmates Shakespeare made this resolution an easy subject of ridicule by those who don’t know what the program actually entails. Or, for that matter, what it costs to keep a person in jail.

As the Wall Street Journal discussed in its April 25, 2006 article on Shakespeare in the Courts,

“Shakespeare in the Courts is meant to boost the kids’ self-esteem, to improve their communications skills, to develop a spirit of community and cooperation: ‘components for future success’ that also help them with anger management. The participants’ rap sheets vary; the judge mentions false bomb threats, shoplifting, moving violations, assault and battery.”

No guns or drugs. Nor, for that matter, do daggers appear directly in the program.

Shakespeare in the Courts is an alternative to incarceration for juvenile offenders. For just $65,000, as we voted on, the County can give a few kids a chance to learn how to do something different. Rather than being thrown in to the jail system, they can learn how to cooperate and collaborate with the members of the cast, and more importantly, think differently than they may have ever done or been taught before.

And let me emphasize that this is aimed squarely at juvenile offenders, aged 12 to 17. These kids, without an alternative to being thrown in jail, suddenly face the brutal incarcerated life. There, they are not reformed. If anything, they are traumatized, violated, and forever warped away from being a healthy member of society.

Such treatment comes with two high price tags. First it the cost of incarceration. To keep one child, just one, in any of our three secure detention facilities, costs Milwaukee County a total of $275 a day.

To keep the child in jail for a week costs $1,925.

To keep the child in jail for a month costs $8,250.

To keep the child in jail for a year  almost $100,000.

This is not to examine the long-term costs to the individual, who will be unable to participate in society, unlikely to graduate from high school, unlikely to be able to get a job.

Nor does this examine the cost to society of doing this.

But I do have the cost of keeping all 153 child-inmates, both girls and boys, in the County’s secure “correctional” facilities.  According to the figures provided by our Chief Intake and Probation Officer, in 2010, to keep all 153 child-inmates in jail, it cost the Milwaukee County taxpayer $16,849,605.

That is 16 MILLION,  eight-hundred and forty-nine thousand,  six-hundred and five dollars.  

And this is a system that we want to preserve?

Or should we spend just sixty-five thousand dollars to keep a few out, for much larger savings down the road?

October 27, 2011 Milwaukee County budget hearing

Naturally, the only one that I physically could not attend is the one where they vote on the tax levy. I have little doubt that County Executive Abele will veto it, but we’ll see how it plays out.



Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee County Board’s Finance & Audit Committee is holding a series of public meetings throughout October on the County Executive’s 2012 Recommended Budget.  Each day, the Committee reviews a number of specific departments and items in the budget.

Today, the Committee reviewed the following departments and approved the noted amendments:

• Amendment approved 6-0 to abolish two Noise Abatement Specialist positions and create three new positions at General Mitchell International Airport to assist in operations.

• Amendment approved 4-2 (No: Mayo, Thomas) to adopt policy that the tax levy support for the Department of Parks for the next four years, 2013 through 2016, shall not be less than the tax levy budgeted for this department in the 2012 adopted budget.

Department of Administrative Services
• Amendment approved 5-0-1 (Abstain: Thomas) to create a separate and stand-alone Department of Comptroller and Finance, and retitle the positions of Controller and Deputy Controller to Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller.   The position of Comptroller shall be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Board, and shall be removable from office for cause with the concurrence of both the County Executive and a majority vote of the County Board, or by a two-thirds vote of the County Board.  A number of other positions are transferred from DAS-Administration and Fiscal Affairs Division to the Department of Comptroller and Finance.  The comptroller shall be a position in the classified service and shall have an employment contract duration of five years, commencing January 1, 2012 and which shall be renewable for additional five year terms upon approval from by the County Board and concurrence of the County Executive.

Milwaukee County Transit/Paratransit
• Amendment approved 6-0 to report on the availability of a live feed of real time information on bus location using GPS technology and study electronically posting project times of arrival at heavily-frequented bus stops.

Employee Fringe Benefits
• Amendment approved 6-0 to decrease the proposed employee monthly premium for the family plan to $170 from $250, decreased the proposed office visit co-pay to $30 from $40, and decrease the annual out-of-pocket limit for preferred providers to $2,500 single/$5,000 family, from $3,000/$6,000 respectively.

Budget Amendment No. 2
• Amendment approved 6-0 to reflect personnel actions approved by the Personnel Committee and the County Board that are not included in the County Executive’s 2012 Recommended Budget.
Ordinance Changes

County Ordinances
• Ordinance amendment approved 3-2-1 (No: De Bruin, Mayo, Excused: Johnson) to add that any surplus sales and use tax revenues be applied toward county expenditures, including prefund employee benefit costs or fund unanticipated or extraordinary annual increases in such costs; or supplement the Appropriation for Contingencies.
• Ordinance amendment approved 4-1-1 (No: De Bruin, Excused: Johnson) to increase admission and parking fees at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
• Ordinance amendment approved 4-1-1 (No: Mayo, Excused: Johnson) increasing fees for certain parking violations in Milwaukee County.
• Ordinance amendment approved 4-1-1 (No: Mayo, Excused: Johnson) to abolish language relating to the reimbursement of Continuing Legal Education credits and membership dues for the Wisconsin Bar Association for non-represented attorneys and State-employed prosecutors in the Office of the District Attorney.

State Exempt Computer Aid approved 5-0 (Excused: Johnson)

Property Tax Levy (as amended)
• 5-1 (No: Schmitt) to approve property tax levy of $275,392,969, an increase of $5,838,268 or 2.17% from the previous year (9.6 million below the State-imposed levy cap for 2012)

2012 County Budget (as amended)
• 5-1 (No: Schmitt) to approve

The Committee’s final meeting on the 2012 County Budget is Wednesday, November 2 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 203-R of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

The County Board’s annual Public Hearing on the 2012 Budget is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 31 at the Washington Park Senior Center, located at 4420 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee.

The County Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of Chairman Lee Holloway, will adopt the 2012 Budget on Monday, November 7 at 8:30 a.m. in Room 200 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

Milwaukee County 2012 budget hearings, Day 7 (10/24/2011)

The amount of activity on the county board appears to increase in direct proportion to the proximity of any meeting, and even more so as budget passage nears. Things are really picking up now, and we have about two weeks before our final budget-passing marathon meeting.

Here’s what the finance committee looked at today:

Milwaukee County Transit/Paratransit System
• Amendment approved 6-0 to conduct an audit of the Milwaukee County Paratransit program to focus on fraud prevention and quality of service issues as well as any other concerns identified in the courthouse of the audit.
[Over a dozen fraudsters were nabbed the last time this was performed!
• Amendment approved 5-1 (No: Schmitt) to increase Paratransit fares by $0.75 rather than the $1.25 recommended by the County Executive.
• Amendment approved 4-2 (No: Mayo, Schmitt) to have the Office of the Sheriff administer the current contract with G4S Wackenhut for security on transit buses and the $920,000 appropriation for these services is budgeted in the Office of the Sheriff. The Sheriff is requested to manage transit security services and recommend changes to improve effectiveness.
• Amendment approved 6-0 to include, beginning in June 2012, driver safety shield installation on all new Milwaukee County Transit System bus purchase specifications. Milwaukee County shall seek grant funding for the installation of safety shields for existing transit fleet vehicles. [Emphasis added.]
• Amendment approved 5-1 (No: Thomas) to continue a pilot program for designated stroller areas on transit buses. Additionally, MCTS will work with the Office of the Sheriff to enforce Chapter 63, in that no non-service animals or specified weapons are allowed on any transit fleet vehicles in order to maximize passenger/driver safety.

DAS – Facilities Management
• Amendment approved 6-0 to work with the Department of Audit to develop a method of collecting data on racial and gender breakdowns of all contractor employees working on Milwaukee County construction or maintenance projects.
• Amendment approved 3-2 (No: De Bruin, Schmitt) to employ County security employees at secure designated security facilities, with the cost partially offset with the elimination of the current security contract.
• Amendment approved 5-0 (Excused: Mayo) to eliminate the contribution to the debt service reserve, conduct a countywide comprehensive facilities plan, and increase the Appropriation for Contingencies.

Federated Library System
• Amendment approved 4-2 (No: Schmitt, Thomas) to restore the County’s 2012 tax levy contribution of $66,650 to the Federated Library System. [An increase of some $9,000 on the tax levy.]

• Amendment approved 6-0 to form a Workgroup to enter into discussions with the Hunger Task Force on the specifics of a lease arrangement that is beneficial to both parties. The proposed lease shall address all components of operating the farm and fish hatchery including, but not limited to, staffing, land utilization, commodity distribution and building maintenance and repair. [I co-sponsored this amendment.]
• Amendment approved 5-1 (No: Thomas) to increase seasonal parks staff hours from 366,683 to 411,446. [I’ll check on the tax levy implications of this.]
• Amendment approved 4-2 (No: Schmitt, Thomas) to deny the abolishment of 15 FTE Park Maintenance Worker in Charge positions and create 15 FTE Parks/Highway Maintenance Workers.

• • •

Tomorrow’s budget hearing will be on the county sheriff’s office and the  Behavioral Health Division. Also, I have my budget town hall at the Wilson Park Senior Center that night at 6:00.

Wednesday’s meeting is on Employee Fringe Benefits (which are often now worse than those at a private employer), Land Sales, and the Dept. of Administrative Services.

Thursday’s hearing will be for discussion of Finance and Audit Committee’s amendments and recommended tax levy, State Exempt Computer Aid, if necessary, and the Property Taxes Budget, as Amended.

Monday October 31 is the county board public hearing on the County Executive’s 2012 Recommended Budget. At this meeting, the public does all the speaking, and we listen. This will be at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 West Vliet Street.

The final Committee on Finance and Audit Budget Hearing will be on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, at 9:30 a.m.

We meet on Monday, November 7 to hammer out the final version, and hopefully pass it before the day turns into night and the night into day. But even then, it’s not over! We meet again on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. for possible veto overrides. I guarantee you Abele is going to try to keep the budget as flat as Walker. We’ll see how it all turns out.

Milwaukee County 2012 budget hearings, Day 7 (10/18/2011)

A day late, but there’s no hearing today, or the rest of the week. So it works out. I’ll add my notes later on.

Hearings will resume on Monday, October 24th at 1:00 p.m.

On the 18th, the Finance & Audit Committee reviewed the Capital Improvement Budget, including the following items:

• General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA) – Airfield Safety Improvements
• GMIA – Runways 1L – 19R & 7R – 25L Intersection Re-Paving
• GMIA – Redundant Main Electric Service Feed
• GMIA – Training Facility
• Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (LJT) – Runway 15L – 33R Extension
• GMIA – Purchase of Non-County Owned Jet Bridges
• GMIA – Terminal Roadway Signage
• GMIA – Cessna Service Apron Reconstruction
• GMIA – Perimeter Road Bridge over Howell Ave
• GMIA – Perimeter Road Extension 128th ARW to College
• GMIA – Terminal Escalator Replacement
• LJT – Runway and Taxiway Light Replacement
• GMIA – Fuel Farm Electrical Service Upgrade

• Zoo Master Plan

Other County Agencies
• Fleet Equipment Acquisition
• Countywide Infrastructure Improvements
• Fiscal Automation Program
• Milwaukee County Revolving Loan Fund
• Special Assessments

Hearings will resume on Monday, October 24th at 1:00 p.m.

Milwaukee County 2012 budget hearings, Day 6 (10/17/2011)

I have been attending every Milwaukee County Finance & Audit Committee hearing on the proposed 2012 county budget. As part of that, I have been posting notes from each meeting. I have posted the previous five entries on my personal blog, and will get them moved over here soon.

When I make comments about a budget item, the comments are placed inside [brackets.]

I took extensive notes and participated in today’s session. So you might think that I’d have more typed up right now… but I took the notes the old-fashioned way—pen and paper. I’ll go off memory for the more interesting stuff.

• • •


Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee County Board’s Finance & Audit Committee is holding a series of public meetings throughout October on the

County Executive’s 2012 Recommended Budget

Each day, the Committee reviews a number of specific departments and items in the budget. Today, the Committee reviewed the following budgets:

• Milwaukee County Transit/Paratransit System – Amendment approved 5-1 (No: Thomas) to increase the commuter value pass premiums by $6 per quarter

[This would raise the cost to $201, if I am not mistaken. There was questioning of why the most dedicated riders would be stuck with the sole cost increase. Also, many paratransit riders and their advocates came to talk about how difficult a steep increase in the paratransit fare would be for them.]

• Civil Air Patrol

• DOT – Airport

• DOT – Highway Division

• DOT – Transportation Services

• DOT – Fleet Management

• DOT – Director’s Office

• DAS – Facilities Management

[I believe the county security guards fell under this segment. They are slated to be replaced by contracted security guards from Wackenhut Services. I made a request for information on the turnover rate of Wackenhut employees working in County facilities. There is a small chance that these jobs will not be privatized. But if we don’t do that, where would the projected $100,000 savings come from? As Supervisor Romo West noted, it seems that privatizations save money in the first year, but cost more in the second year and thereafter. I do want to see more than anecdotal evidence of this, and at the same time, I do not support the privatization of these or other jobs.]

• DAS – Architectural, Engineering and Environmental Services

• DAS – Water Utility

The Committee will continue its review of budgets and consideration of amendments throughout October in Room 203-R of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

Click here to access the 2012 budget meeting schedule

Click here to listen to live audio from the meetings

(available while meetings are in progress)

Click here to access the Budget Overview presented by County Board Staff

The County Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of Chairman Lee Holloway, will adopt the 2012 Budget on Monday, November 7 at 8:30 a.m. in Room 200 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

The County Board’s annual Public Hearing on the 2012 Budget is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 31 at the Washington Park Senior Center, located at 4420 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee.


South Side meeting to discuss changes to MCTS Route 15

Let me quote the press release:

Milwaukee County
Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic, 4th District
Supervisor Patricia Jursik, 8th District
Supervisor Jason Haas, 14th District

For Immediate Release October 17, 2011
Contact: Harold Mester, Public Information Manager
414/278-4051 or


Express Route 15 proposed for south side, south shore and airport area

Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee County Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic, Patricia Jursik and Jason Haas will host an information session regarding the changes to Route 15 and the proposed express bus service included in the County Executive’s 2012 Recommended Budget.

The proposed Express Route 15 would impact Milwaukee’s south side, other south shore communities, and General Mitchell International Airport. The proposal also includes changes to the current Route 15.

In addition to the Supervisors, representatives from the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will be on hand to present detailed information and answer questions from the public.

Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic, Patricia Jursik and Jason Haas

Information session on Route 15/proposed express bus service
Monday, October 24, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Bay View Library (accessible from MCTS Route 15)
2566 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee


Route 15 is important to me. I ride the bus, along with tens of thousands of people. I want to make sure that they can continue to use it.

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