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6-0: Committee unanimously approves Theo Lipscomb resolution that would keep Schulz Aquatic Center open

Committee votes to approve proposal to save Schulz Aquatic Center

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Board's Finance and Audit Committee on Thursday, Jan. 25 unanimously approved a resolution proposed by Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb to keep the Schulz Aquatic Center open -- for now. The vote was 6-0.

Lipscomb’s proposal would end unauthorized bonuses for staff and cut down travel budgets. It calls for a moratorium on funding out-of-county travel for county employees.

“Like my constituents and thousands of area residents, I’m outraged that instead of cutting administrative waste, such as bloated travel budgets, the Abele Administration announced they were closing a popular local pool. It’s time to stop playing games with taxpayers and threatening important services and popular amenities. Instead, department heads need to make an honest effort to cut waste, luxuries, and duplication, as supervisors called for in the 2018 budget,” Lipscomb said in a release ahead of the vote.

According to that release, Lipscomb’s resolution “identifies wasteful expenditures such as unauthorized bonuses, recently tallied at more than $250,000 for a six-month period of 2017, and excessive travel budgets, which also totaled nearly $250,000 for just two departments in 2017. Savings from either of these would be sufficient to fully fund the pool for 2018.”

Families filled the meeting to speak out against the pool possibly closing.

Schulz Aquatic Center

Schulz Aquatic Center

"I use that pool faithfully every summer," said Barbara Moore.

"It is actually an asset to our community," said Cheryl Bledsoe. "My 4-year-old was supposed to take swimming lessons this year. It would be devastating if that pool would close."

"I look forward to this every summer, but if it's gone I have nothing to look forward to," said Zoe Gapinski.

Funding for the pool is drying up after controversial budget cuts. County Executive Chris Abele's $60 wheel tax was rejected by the Milwaukee County Board and spending was slashed. Abele's office has said there is little they can do.

Schulz Aquatic Center

Theo Lipscomb

"We got here because the County Board made the decision to cut $16 million from the budget even though they knew what kind of cuts it would require," said Melissa Baldauff, spokeswoman for the county executive.

There is still hope.

"Like my constituents and thousands of area residents, I’m outraged that instead of cutting administrative waste, such as bloated travel budgets, the Abele administration announced they were closing a popular local pool. It’s time to stop playing games with taxpayers and threatening important services and popular amenities. Instead, department heads need to make an honest effort to cut waste, luxuries, and duplication, as supervisors called for in the 2018 budget,” Lipscomb said in a release ahead of the vote.

According to that release, Lipscomb’s resolution “identifies wasteful expenditures such as unauthorized bonuses, recently tallied at more than $250,000 for a six-month period of 2017, and excessive travel budgets, which also totaled nearly $250,000 for just two departments in 2017. Savings from either of these would be sufficient to fully fund the pool for 2018.”

"Stop pretending that you can't go inside a billion dollar budget and find a couple million dollars," said Lipscomb.

The resolution now heads to the full Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors for a vote on Feb. 1.