MILWAUKEE – County Supervisor Ryan Clancy is calling on County Executive David Crowley to dedicate a significant portion of Milwaukee County’s $183 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to a process called “decisive participatory budgeting” and $0 to law enforcement.

“I appreciate County Executive Crowley’s framework for allocating the County’s ARPA funds. Emphasizing investing funds upstream to meet vital community needs is essential,” said Supervisor Clancy. “Within this framework, giving the public a direct voice in how these funds are spent will ensure that dollars go where they are most needed and will increase engagement with our budget process.”

Decisive participatory budgeting involves residents generating ideas for specific projects and directly helping decide how funding for those projects is spent. Several local governments across the United States—including Chicago; Denver; Rochester, N.Y.; and Merced County, Calif.—use some form of participatory budgeting.

Supervisor Clancy is calling for at least 10% of all ARPA funds not allocated towards operating expenses to be used for decisive participatory budgeting projects in the 2022, 2023, and 2024 Milwaukee County budgets, with at least $1 million of that spent on currently or formerly justice-involved youth. This call echoes the Liberate MKE coalition’s demands from more than 100 organizations and individuals.

Given Milwaukee County’s recent success using CARES Act funding to address issues such as eviction prevention, Supervisor Clancy is calling for all of Milwaukee County’s ARPA funding to go towards county departments providing services related to human needs, instead of funding law enforcement.

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