County Executive Chris Abele announced on Monday a proposal to cut the County Sheriff’s budget by $3.3 million and pay the City of Milwaukee just half that amount to take over county park patrols and a portion of the county's 911 calls, according to JSOnline.
This cut would mean the layoff of 23 department employees, 21 of them deputies. Part of the plan sends lakefront and park patrols, plus some county 911 calls to Milwaukee police.
Abele said this move would provide budget savings. Greendale State Representative Jeff Stone thinks it's not a real solution.
"The County Executive's recent proposal to eliminate 23 Sheriff's Deputy positions and to give $1.6 Million to the City of Milwaukee is flawed," Stone said in a release. "It has been touted as 'cost saving measure' when the effective outcome is actually only a shift of Milwaukee County tax dollars to the City of Milwaukee. It will produce a reduction in positions and service in the County Sheriff’s Office but the dollars saved there will be transferred and spent by the City of Milwaukee.”
Stone believes this would mean a shortfall in services for suburban areas of the county.
“Maybe it should come as no surprise that County Executive Abele and Mayor Barrett both like the idea of giving the City of Milwaukee tax dollars generated in suburban areas of our county since they both reside in the city,” he said. “It should, however, give county residents outside of Milwaukee great cause for concern, as we now have to wonder what other city services we will be asked to subsidize in the future. This proposal taxes all property owners in the county and transfers those dollars to the control of the City of Milwaukee, and sets a dangerous precedent for the use of county generated tax dollars.”
Sheriff David A. Clarke agrees with Stone. He said county residents who live outside of Milwaukee would lose. Even though the city would get more money, Clarke believes the city police department would be overburdened with the extra added work.
Abele said the impact on Clarke’s budget is very tiny. The Sheriff's Department budget this year is $142 million, including $122 million from county taxpayers.
Abele’s says his proposed $1.3 billion 2013 county budget would improve services and public safety without raising taxes. It also includes money for significant upgrades to the long neglected Moody Park and a comprehensive plan to improve a number of other central city parks.