MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County residents are encouraged to weigh in on a proposed new tax. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is proposing a vehicle registration fee, more commonly called a "wheel tax."
A public hearing is set for Monday evening, October 31st, and the discussion will focus on a wheel tax of $60, or perhaps $30, or perhaps, officials will opt to stick with the status quo and not impose a tax on registered vehicles at all.
County leaders are counting on constituents contributing to the conversation Monday evening.
County supervisors want to know how you feel about the proposed new wheel tax -- and other budget proposals.
"We're trying our best. We're trying to make things work," Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman said.
"We want to hear from the community. We want to hear from our constituents," Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo said.
"There's a public budget hearing, and any concerns that they have regarding anything within the budget -- please come out and speak," Milwaukee County Supervisor Sequanna Taylor said.
"Of every element of the budget, this is the single most important part of it by far -- the vehicle registration fee," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.
Abele has recommended the fee be set at $60. He said money generated would be used to help cover various costs, including road maintenance and repairs.
Without the wheel tax?
"We're gonna have to face some really, dire choices. I mean, think bus fares going from $2 to maybe $8. I mean, that wouldn't even be enough," Abele said.
Abele said the same of the move Monday morning by the Milwaukee County Board's Finance and Audit Committee. Committee members approved an alternative fee -- totaling $30 -- half of Abele's recommendation.
"I understand that it was a compromise, and it's something that had to be done. I do thank the chairman for looking into it, and seeing what could be done, but I definitely think we still got some work ahead of us regarding this wheel tax," Taylor said.
The public hearing is set for 6:00 p.m. Monday inside the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts -- at Water and State in downtown Milwaukee.
All 18 Milwaukee County supervisors are expected to be in attendance in order to listen to the public.
Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb has extended a special invitation to County Executive Chris Abele to attend the hearing, according to a statement from his office.
According to Lipscomb's statement, the Finance and Audit Committee, led by Chair Peggy West, has held 10 days of public meetings on the 2017 budget during the month of October, and held a public hearing in the community on October 18th.
The Finance Committee will hold an additional public meeting this Wednesday, November 2nd before the amended budget comes before the full County Board for adoption on Monday, November 7th.