By Nyesha Stone
County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb had County leaders identify budget cuts that would total more than $20 million, which would include service cuts, layoffs and worker concessions according to a recent press release. Because of this, County Executive Chris Abele wants the public to know how damaging this budget cut would be to families living in Milwaukee County.
These budget cuts would cut County programs and services like the UpLift MKE program. This program was launched at the beginning of 2016, and it helps people get jobs and not just temporary ones.
With this program, over 300 people have found a job with an average pay of $15, according to Abele.
UpLift targets residents in the Sherman Park area which trains and prepares them to climb the job ladder of opportunity.
Abele also stated, not only will programs like this be cut, but transit fare will increase. It doesn’t stop there, Abele said certain bus routes would have to be cut along with disability services. He thinks “it will be catastrophic for the community” if these services are cut because these services serve a purpose in the community, which is why they were initiated in the first place.
“This stuff isn’t a luxury for people it’s a necessity,” said Abele.
Abele doesn’t believe the community knows or understands what these cuts could mean to them. Not everyone uses these services, yet the ones that do, need those services to keep running.
For some the main and only form of transportation is public transit and to increase the fares or to take away an entire route could cause someone to lose their job.
According to a Department of Administrative Services Milwaukee Country informational report, the Country Executive nor the Department Heads recommend these budget cuts.
Services like funding for Sherman & Moody Park Initiatives, tuition reimbursement, the Wellness program or even training for Paramedics Cadets at MATC would all be cut, according to the informational report.
To avoid these budget cuts, Abele created his own budget proposal that he feels will be a better fit for the community. Abele has faced of a lot skepticism about his 2017 budget and now on his 2018 one—this spring, over half of the voters voted “no” to Abele’s wheel tax, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Even with the doubt from others, Abele believes his proposal will be the best fit for all.
On Monday, October 30 at 6:30pm the County Board will hold a public hearing open to all Milwaukee County residents at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St. If you care as deeply as Chris does about preventing these devastating and unnecessary budget cuts, please attend and make your voice heard. If you cannot attend in person, please call your County Board Supervisor at 414-278-4222 and tell them to reject Theo’s budget cuts.