Tag Archives: City of Milwaukee

Milwaukee Running Out of OPM for Trolley

Shocking development… I know  :roll:

MILWAUKEE — Some Milwaukee aldermen are raising the prospect of suspending streetcar service, known as ‘The Hop,’ citing a lack of funding to keep it running, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.

TMJ4’s news partner reports that aldermen Scott Spiker and Michael Murphy said at a city budget hearing Friday that funds are running out in the city’s parking fund, which pays for the free streetcar service. Several forms of parking enforcement have already been suspended amid the pandemic, which has led to the shortfall of funding.

But Milwaukee Department of Public Works Commissioner Jeff Polenske tells the BizJournal that suspending the Hop would violate the City of Milwaukee’s agreement with the federal government. The city is obligated to continue running the service because federal dollars were used to build the service, running across the city’s downtown and lower east side.

Polenske says he brought the issue up with the Federal Transit Administration. The BizJournal reports that FTA officials told him that the obligation to continue the service remains in place amid the pandemic.

Police Avoid Milwaukee Amid Dangerous Restrictions on Use of Force

Of course, Morales has an ax to grind, but I have no doubt this is going on. If you are a police chief in West Bend, for example, do you want to send your officers to Milwaukee where they are forbidden from using reasonable means to control riots? Do you want to get your officers injured or killed just to help out Milwaukee?

The city’s decision came before Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission issued a directive last week to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to stop using tear gas to control crowds, saying he could be fired if he refused. That order came amid intense scrutiny of police tactics at protests in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May.

Since the Milwaukee order was issued, more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin and across the country decided against coming to Milwaukee, Morales told WTMJ-TV on Tuesday. They were concerned with directives placed on the police department, including not allowing tear gas or pepper spray, he said.

Morales did not say which agencies would not be coming or how many officers were still expected. The original plan was to have 1,000 officers on hand from outside agencies to assist with security. Morales said using the National Guard or enlisting federal assistance was under consideration.

The convention has been scaled down to a mostly virtual event, with only about 300 people expected to attend in-person. Most of the speeches will be delivered online from other locations, though former Vice President Joe Biden has said he will be in Milwaukee to accept the nomination. Despite the event’s smaller scale, police are preparing for potentially large protests in and around the venue.

Milwaukee Requires Masks

Nuts to that.

MILWAUKEE — The full Milwaukee Common Council voted 15-0 Monday, July 13 to approve Milwaukee’s proposed mask mandate ordinance — passed by the Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety and Health Committee Thursday, July 9. It now heads to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s desk for his signature.

Some major modifications were made to the proposal leading up to Thursday’s committee vote. More than 600 people submitted a comment to the Public Safety and Health Committee, and just 26 more people supported the proposal than opposed it, similar to what FOX6 News heard along Milwaukee’s lakefront Sunday, on the eve of the full council’s vote.

[…]

The MKE Cares ordinance can be viewed here and requires masks for everyone three and older when inside buildings open to the public, and outside when within six feet of someone who is not a family member or member of your household.

I’ll share my view on masks… generally speaking, masks are useful in preventing the spread of airborne diseases in some circumstances. If I was in a high risk group, or if I am around people in a high risk group, then I might wear a mask in conjunction with keeping my distance and practicing sanitary practices.

I absolutely oppose the government – any government – mandating that we wear masks. In the same vein, I oppose them requiring me to wash my hands, keep my distance, wipe my ass, brush my teeth, or most other things. All of those things are great ideas, but outside the realm of government authority. Government’s job is to protect my rights. It is my job to protect my health.

One thing that is shocking, or perhaps not, is that the vote was unanimous. Clearly the population is not unanimous on this, so what does say about their representation?

No New Jobs for Inner City Milwaukee

Ah, the classic American tale. Company wants to move into the inner city to create jobs and build the community; protesters crap all over it; company takes its business elsewhere. Nice job, Milwaukee.

Strauss Brands announced Monday they will not be relocating from Franklin to Milwaukee — taking with them up to 500 potential jobs.

[…]

In September, the city announced Strauss Brands would be moving its headquarters — and meat processing facility — to the city’s northwest side. The company was planning to build a 170,000-square-foot building on 20 acres, and planned to slaughter 500 cows every day starting in 2021.

Milwaukee city officials celebrated the ability to get a large production facility to move into the struggling business park.

Alderman Khalif Rainey, who represents the district where Century City is located, was in support of Strauss Brands moving into the area. He said those jobs were needed.

But after intense criticsm over the slaughterhouse, the common council decided to revisit the proposal, planning to do so Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Barrett’s “Plans” for Sales Tax Money

Doesn’t it seem like he just tries to make stuff up that sounds good? Of course, once the money is flowing into Milwaukee, it could be used for anything… like trolleys, employee benefits, and other stuff that doesn’t sound as good.

If the tax were approved, it would raise an estimated $160 million, Barrett said, and 25 percent, or $40 million, would go to property tax relief in the form of a credit.

Barrett said the city of Milwaukee would use part of the money for lead abatement on aging homes with lead paint and replacing lead laterals in the city’s water system.

He said without the additional revenue, the Milwaukee Police Department is likely to have fewer officers in the next city budget.

“I do not want to do that,” Barrett said. “A way for us to avoid that is to have this sales tax.”

Some enterprising reporter should look into the city budget and see what other spending is being prioritized over these things already.

City of Milwaukee Bans Contractors From Arming Themselves

Predictably reactionary.

Contractors would be banned from carrying weapons, under a resolution passed unanimously Tuesday by the Milwaukee Common Council.

Aldermen also voted unanimously to direct the city Department of Public Works to examine Milwaukee’s outsourcing of work, and compile a report on outsourced projects that could be performed by city employees instead.

There are two things going on here. First, the Aldermen are using this as an excuse to swing more work to city employees instead of contractors. It would necessitate the hiring of more city employees which means a sop to the public labor unions which means more union money flowing back to liberal Aldermen. It is a simple power move.

Second, the Aldermen are impotent to act regarding actual crime in their city, but they want to make a show for “public safety.” In reality, what they have done is paint a big target on city contractors for the crooks in the city. Sadly, I think we’ll see the severe injury or death of a city contractor before Easter.

Barrett Whines About Not Being Able to Tax More

I invite this conversation.

The City of Milwaukee is more unique than we knew.

It is the only city its size limited to using property taxes as the sole form of local taxation, a new report has found. The report also suggests the current revenue structure Milwaukee is required to operate under is ineffective and outdated.

“Milwaukee is in this unique situation because the handcuffs are so tight,” Mayor Tom Barrett said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The report — “On The Money?” — will be released Sunday by the nonprofit Public Policy Forum.

Following an analysis of 39 similar-size cities, the forum found Wisconsin is the only state in the Midwest that limits municipalities to the property tax as the sole form of local taxation. And it’s the only state whose largest city has the same tax structure as all other municipalities.

[…]

The analysis also found that each of the cities studied in the report except Milwaukee has multiple taxes, and most have general or selective sales taxes, such as taxes on entertainment or food and liquor. Other findings include that state aid is typically a minor source of revenue for most of those cities, and cities with larger populations tend to draw more heavily on the sales tax and less on the property tax.

Essentially, Wisconsin does government funding a little differently than other states and Barrett wants his cake and to eat it too. Wisconsin does restrict local taxation somewhat, but does so in exchange for much higher state funding than other states. If fact, you’ll notice that the City of Milwaukee receives a huge sum of money from the state’s taxpayers:

mkebudget

You will also notice, that Barrett is very specific about talking about “taxation” since the City does rake in a tremendous amount of money through various fees like the Wheel Tax – er… Wheel Fee.

Barrett wants to continue to receive a tremendous amount of money from the state, but also wants to raise more local taxes to support his reckless spending. But it is really a matter of the philosophy behind how we want to fund out local governments. I have long been a critic of Wisconsin’s Shared Revenue structure. I would much prefer to scrap the entire framework, cut state taxes and spending, and let local people decide for themselves how much they want to fund their local governments. It has never made sense to filter so much tax money through the state and back to local governments. Except in the cases of some rural local governments that lack a sufficient tax base, the state shouldn’t be in the business of funding any local governments.

So I support Barrett’s effort to allow local governments to levy more and different kinds of taxes to fund themselves – as long as the rest of Wisconsin’s taxpayers can have back the $265 million per year that we send to Milwaukee. The state sends about a billion dollars a year to local governments. Let’s return that to the taxpayers and let local taxpayers decide how they want to fund their local governments.

Milwaukee Approves Plans to Replace Lead Pipes

And the homeowners take it in the shorts!

A residential property owner would pay up to $1,600, or no more than one-third of the cost of replacing the private section, if the work is done by a city contractor, under the ordinance based on a proposal made by Mayor Tom Barrett.

Tens of millions for trolleys, but not enough for the city to cover this.

Do you see the union perk in there? The city will pay for “city approved” contractors over $1,600. You can imagine that a few choice contractors will make a killing on this for years. Why couldn’t the city just cover anything over $1,600 irrespective of who did the work? Follow the money.