By Alderman Ashanti Hamilton
Common Council President City of Milwaukee –
This past Tuesday the Common Council voted to pass an amended 2019 City Budget which include five vetoes from the Mayor that the Council as a body chose to override. Now that the Mayor has signed the budget into law, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the most notable things we will be funding in the coming year.
Our amended budget will establish an Inspector General Position in the City Clerk’s Office to serve as a watchdog over various city agencies. This position will allow more oversight over our departments to ensure that mismanagement does not occur, and crises are averted. None of us at the Council were willing to take a passive response to the issues within our Health Department and we think this will be a positive step in the right direction.
In this same vein, our amended budget will add four Community Outreach Liaisons and one Health Project Coordinator to the Health Department’s staff. We also created a $425,000 account to be used on programs that will address elevated blood level follow-up, lead hazard remediation, family and community health visits and communicable disease prevention. The health of our residents is extremely important, and these efforts will better equip our Health Department to address some of the most prominent challenges citizens deal with.
Another challenge that we took action on is the safety of our communities. Our amended budget establishes four neighborhood Community Oriented Policing (COP) Houses that will be placed in high crime areas. In collaboration with the Milwaukee Police Department, these houses will be located within the boundaries of the Milwaukee Promise Zones to double and triple down on the placed based strategies already happening in the city. Officers can use these houses to take a break while on patrol, but they will also be resource hubs that community members can access when services are needed.
These COP houses come in addition to the implementation of a “Project Greenlight”. This amendment will make it possible for private cameras on residential and business properties in to stream their feeds live to the Milwaukee Police Department. As we try to find innovative ways to reduce criminal activity in our community, we believe this pilot program can be a solution for our residents.
The last aspect of the budget I would like to highlight is our addition of $1 million to the Local Street Reconstruction Program. We know that our road quality in many parts of this City is abysmal and this funding increase will lead to more potholes filled and road repaved–something that is important for our infrastructure.
Our budget is long and addresses many important issues that affect your day to day life, and I intend to unpack more of what we were able to accomplish in future writings. However, what I have been able to outline in this brief synopsis makes me excited for 2019 and the years to come. Our City is moving forward, and I am always proud to be a part of that through the Budget process we engage in each year.