MILWAUKEE, WI – Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley delivered his 2024 Recommended Budget to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors on Thursday, September 28. For the first time in over 20 years, Milwaukee County is projecting a surplus in the budget in 2024. The $31.6 million surplus projection is a direct result of Wisconsin Act 12, which was passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature and allowed Milwaukee County to increase its sales tax rate by 0.4%.
“When I took office, my number one priority was to put Milwaukee County on the path to financial sustainability,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “For the first time in decades, that goal has been achieved. I am proud of this budget. I am proud of the work our team did to finally achieve a long-term solution to the County’s financial constraints – a solution that many thought was impossible. I look forward to the productive discussions and continued collaboration with the Milwaukee County Board as we finalize the 2024 budget.”
Highlights from the recommended budget include a historic $24 million decrease in the property tax levy – the largest in Milwaukee County history. This decrease is due in large part to the passage of Act 12. The increase in sales tax revenue will allow diversified funding streams and reduce Milwaukee County’s reliance on the property tax levy, putting money back in homeowners’ pockets.
The budget also includes a $16 million tax levy increase to the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) budget. As one of the County services most at risk prior to the Act 12 funding solution, County Executive Crowley is pleased to provide dedicate funding to help sustain current transportation services, enhance transit security, and prevent further fiscal challenges.
The Milwaukee County Parks was another resource in need of increased financial support, and the 2024 budget dedicates an additional $3 million into our parks, creating 18 new full-time positions to support operations, maintenance, and more. Additionally, over $23 million in capital investments will be dedicated to 13 new parks projects, including trail improvements and modernizations, to improve the quality of our beautiful green spaces within the County.
In his address, the County Executive noted the impact of housing on public health. The 2024 Recommended Budget continues Milwaukee County’s commitment to ensuring all residents have access to safe, quality, and affordable housing by allocating $4 million for affordable housing development projects across the County. The $4 million in funding builds on the $12 million Milwaukee County invested in affordable housing through federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. This new funding, as with the previous ARPA funding, will be focused on Milwaukee County suburbs to ensure that residents have a wide range of choice of where to live, work, and play.
Rob Henken, president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum, commended County Executive Crowley’s 2024 budget, noting the progress that has been made over the years through fiscally responsible budgeting.
“It is just a remarkable and almost unfathomable turn of events to see Milwaukee County with a large budget surplus, to be able to strategically invest in 2024,” Henken said. “I started analyzing county budgets back in 1998 and I can assure you this is the first time that there has been an opportunity for sizable new investment.”
The full 2024 Recommended Budget is available on the Milwaukee County website.