Chris Abele pushes for unity, lays out plan for Milwaukee Co.

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MILWAUKEE CO. (WITI) -- Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele called for unity as he laid out his plan for the county on Monday, February 11th. He also says his plan could save taxpayers $140 million over the next 20 years.

Abele made his State of the County speech in Oak Creek on Monday. He drew attention to the Oak Creek Police Department and its handling of the Sikh Temple mass shooting. But Abele also used the moment to show when the going gets tough, people get together, despite race or religion, and did what was right. Abele hopes that attitude can be carried over to the politic arena in Milwaukee County.

"The response to the shooting here in oak creek is an example of all the power we hold when we work together and are focused," said Abele.

Abele is proposing spending $3 million to help reform mental health care in Milwaukee County. In his speech, Abele said, "I am making a commitment to shift patients in our long-term care units at the Behavioral Health Hospital and move them into integrated, community settings within the next three years."

Abele said, "Study after study shows that people thrive and recover much faster when they are in community, rather than institutional, settings."

The county executive also drew attention to how the county uses its buildings and resources. Abele told those at Monday's gathering, "They study shows we need to make significant changes in our approach to County buildings and properties and adapt to our current mission and smaller workforce."

CLICK HERE to read County Executive Abele's complete statement

Abele says the county will be looking to consolidate building and facilities -- and improve the way the existing space, some 1,000 buildings and 14 million square feet, is used.

Abele talked about the successes of the past year which include moving closer to making the lakefront high-rise project a reality. He also talked about trying to restore funding for the bus system from the state. Abele also mentioned the success of the veterans job fair and the county's commitment to hiring veterans into seasonal positions.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.

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