County Exec. Chris Abele issues vetoes to 2014 County budget

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele issued vetoes to the 2014 Budget on Wednesday, November 20th that he says will lower property taxes $1.6 million while adding $2 million to the Debt Service Reserve, the county’s rainy day fund.

The vetoes are the latest in an ongoing tug-of-war between Abele and the County Board. For example, after an increase in threats, Abele initially asked for $400,000 for personal security. Also, int he 24 pages of notes, Abele says he won't fight the Board's decision to keep the Sheriff's Office in charge of patrolling Milwaukee County Parks. Abele had suggested local police departments take on that responsibility.

County Executive Abele proposed closing indoor swimming pools at Pulaski and Noyes Park. But the Board unanimously voted to keep them open.

"We left in the pools.  That was a big priority for the Board.  I remain concerned about sustainability there, it's still an issue," said Abele.

The vetoes address several of the Board's amendments Abele believes are illegal -- like cutting salaries of Abele's staff. Abele has also vetoed all five of the Board's amendments concerning the future of Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex.

"They also called for capacity studies.  They're asking for 100-thousand dollars for this study.  We've done so many of these studies in the past," said Abele.

"He is actually vetoing oversight, additional analysis -- some of that was requested by the hospital systems," said Supervisor Theo Lipscomb. He says Abele's budget proposal was flawed from the start.

"The County Executive initially proposed a budget that was $3 million out of balance," said Lipscomb.

Lipscomb says the Board's amendments change that -- and they're holding firm on them.

Besides lowering taxes and adding money to the rainy day fund, Abele’s vetoes:

  • Restore the ShotSpotter program, a state of the art crime fighting tool that will be used near numerous County Parks.
  • Shift $300,000 to high priority Parks projects.
  • Eliminate thousands of dollars in earmarks.
  • Eliminate County Board-imposed hurdles to the mental health transformation, ensuring timely progress towards more robust and safe and effective community based mental health care.
  • Streamline efficient government by removing unnecessary reports and red tape.
  • Eliminate Board amendments that use one-time funding for ongoing costs.

A full list of the vetoes and veto messages can be found by CLICKING HERE.

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