Community members, local leaders torn over support for new Bucks arena

MILWAUKEE - Backing the Bucks? Community members and local leaders seem torn over if supporting the new Bucks arena deal is really beneficial to the community.

Community members, state and local leaders gathered at St. Matthew CME Church with one goal in mind, having a candid discussion about the impact the current arena funding plan will have.

"That means opportunity for our citizens and opportunity for businesses to grow capacity," said Milwaukee Alderman Willie Wade.

As the funding breaks down to the state contributing $55 million, Milwaukee County $55 million, and the city of of Milwaukee $47 million -- Mayor Tom Barrett says he's negotiated with resident's best interest in mind. He says he wants to get the deal done but has an obligation to tax payers.

"We've been asked to build a $30 million parking lot, that's our first major contribution. The second contribution to the city is a $12 million TIF, tax incremental financing," said Mayor Barrett.

But some leaders like County Board Supervisor, Michael Mayo Sr., made their skepticism evident.

"My concern is the bad debt off of the people who cannot afford their homes right now. The property taxes within 90 days they want to garnish checks, throw a lien on the home -- that's not right," said Mayo.

Many folks listened as they tried to grasp the details of the plan, and Senator Lena Taylor says what's so challenging is that there is no clear concrete document.

"If it was a way to fully say this is exactly how the debt structure works and this is exactly who will do what and everybody has that full understanding, then people might see it differently," said Taylor.

As the community engaged the topic, the consensus seemed to be the need for clarity.

"So I must see a document to be able to look at the detail and to be able to formulate what makes sense and what doesn't -- that's the biggest issues," said Taylor.

Taylor says she would have liked to finish up the budget now, but she will be back at the table when the committee meets again.