MILWAUKEE – Supervisor Ryan Clancy has proposed shifting a total of nearly $12 million in funding from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to support Milwaukee County programs and services that meet the human needs of county residents.
“We spend far too much of our precious and ever-dwindling revenues on law enforcement and not nearly enough on meeting the urgent and pressing needs of our neighbors,” said Clancy.
Clancy authored 18 amendments to the 2021 Milwaukee County budget that would build upon the $1.3 million reduction in the Sheriff’s budget included in the County Executive’s proposal.
Clancy introduced the first 15 of his amendments to shift about $2.6 million from the MCSO to other departments and divisions on October 29. The Finance Committee recommended rejection of all but one of those, a measure that allocates $37,584 to convert five unpaid Animal Care intern positions at the Zoo to paid positions.
At the November 4 meeting of the Finance Committee, Clancy proposed an additional two amendments that would shift a combined $8.5 million to a contingency account for unanticipated events such as departmental shortfalls. A third amendment proposed $78,000 for a new position of Senior Center Manager. Even though all three measures failed in committee, Supervisors will still have an opportunity to consider them on Monday.
Clancy’s proposals to redirect $12 million from the MCSO to human needs reflect the demands of community groups which have called for a 25% reduction in spending on law enforcement.
Clancy’s proposed mechanism for increasing funding to services and infrastructure enjoys wide public support: Over 70% of the respondents to the county’s Balancing Act Budget Tool indicated that they wanted additional funding for human needs to come from the MCSO and 25% of respondents wanted funding to come from additional debt.
At the Board of Supervisors annual public hearing on the budget in October, 78% of those who spoke, or 32 people, directly addressed the MCSO budget. Among those individuals, 94% were in favor of cuts to the budget; only 6% (two people) were opposed.