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Abele Vetoes Milwaukee County Board's $6.25 Million Tax Levy Increase

County Executive trims board's EMS funding plan, sheriff deputy funding and other measures to fulfill "no tax increase" pledge.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released his budget vetoes early Tuesday morning, removing the County Board added to his proposed 2012 budget.

froze the tax levy at 2011 levels, fulfilling his campaign pledge that he would not increase taxes in his first budget.

Abele cut $722,527 from the to the Emergency Medical Services subsidy to the county municipalities. He had originally proposed to completely cut the $3 million payment to communities to cover training and personnel costs for paramedic services, but the board restored $1.5 million to the program during last week’s hearing.

“The municipalities have raised concerns about eliminating the subsidy in one year,” Abele said in his partial veto memo. “I have listened to their concerns and will support continuing a portion of that subsidy in 2012, as a transition to ending the subsidy completely in 2013.”

He added that the budget will continue $4.3 million of funding to municipal EMS to support the communications center, initial and on-going paramedic training, medical oversight, hospital coordination, medical record maintenance, quality assurance, administration and limited billing subsidy and selling medical supplies.

“This represents my strong support for municipal EMS services,” Abele said.

He also vetoed the board’s new distribution plan formula, which would have funneled more of the EMS subsidy to departments that had cooperative service delivery in place, and to eliminate the board’s plan to end the existing EMS contract between the municipalities and county to put in place a “take it or leave it” policy for receipt of funds.

“I do not believe it is appropriate for the Board to invalidate a contract and allocation formula that has been negotiated and agreed to by the individual municipalities,” Abele said.

Abele also vetoed the board’s use of the tax levy to restore 27 deputy sheriff positions and 2 deputy sheriff sergeants. The cut would take $1,551,991 off the levy.

Abele said he would rather see any wage and benefit concessions made by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association be used to pay for the restoration of these positions, which are in the Sheriff’s Tactical Enforcement Unit and Park Patrol programs. The DSA has tentatively agreed to a plan that could restore up to 60 of the 133 positions Abele initially cut in his budget proposal.

The County Board was planning on taking up the DSA’s contract concessions next week when it addresses Abele’s vetoes.

Abele also vetoed $2 million in bond financing for HVAC repairs to the Kosciuszko and King community centers, saying the board’s action ignored the county’s process for prioritizing capital projects and repairs.

He vetoed an attempt by the board to set the Parks Department budget through 2016 by setting a minimum spending level for the services. Abele said such a move ties the hands of future boards and executives, who will need to make budget decisions on an annual, not four-year, basis.

In response to an amendment spearheaded by County Board Chairman Lee Holloway to eliminate an IT-Business Development position, Abele restored it and its $136,540 salary and benefits. Holloway said the position was budgeted to the wrong department, since the person performing the duties was actually working directly with Abele. Holloway said last week that if Abele wants this person in his office, he should pay for it in the executive budget.

Abele said by restoring the position, there will be someone to analyze current business process, principle and practices of county departments and divisions.

“This positions benefits taxpayers by making recommendations to assist in determining which county business areas would most benefit from operational improvement,” he said.

Bren November 16, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Well, he said he wouldn't raise taxes. If, like Walker, he ran on a reasonable platform and then turned out to be the Koch brother's organ grinder monkey, people would be just as offended. But no surprise here. But not to worry, right? Scott Walker's about to swoop in with 250,000 family sustaining jobs.
jbw November 16, 2011 at 03:04 AM
Why do you have this extreme obsession with the Koch brothers? I don't think I've ever seen you comment on anything without referencing them. There are lots of other people in Wisconsin who are worth recognizing. Is it just a fixation on the closest "evil wealthy capitalist" to lay blame? Is there a politician with no connections with any affluent business people who escapes your summary judgement? I also find it odd that Abele doesn't seem to draw nearly as much ire while sounding and acting exactly like Walker as far as I can tell. Perhaps Abele just isn't at a high enough level to attract opposition from well-funded state and national political groups.
Bob McBride November 16, 2011 at 01:39 PM
I gotta ask again, where are the lefties who were railing at Scott Walker when he was the CE for doing EXACTLY what Abele's doing now? Where's the outrage over Abele giving his personal assistant a high paying position in the IT department, and then having her work out of his office (doing non-IT related work), in effect breaking his promise to keep the cost of running his office in line with what Walker spent? Anyone? Shrugs and shuffles? Koch brothers...blah, blah, blah? THAT'S IT??? You hypocrites
Kay November 17, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Lets also keep in mind that this was Doyles budget passed down to be dealt with...
Bob McBride November 17, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Doyle brings out as many crickets as does Abele. Hard to make the points about Walker if they have to acknowledge similar stuff done by the clowns they elected. They still can't make up their minds if the recall is about the collective bargaining issue or not. Depends on whether or not they run up against a logical argument or not. The real problem is Walker wasn't tough enough. He should have issued them all pink slips effective in 30 days if they didn't take an across the board 15% pay cut, let them go on strike and then fired and replaced the lot of them.

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