The Milwaukee County Board voted to override 18 of the 23 vetoes put into place by County Executive Chris Abele in the 2012 county budget. The Board of Supervisors raised the tax levy by more than $3 million, in order to keep health care costs down for county employees, and also voted to restore $1.5 million to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department for the Park Patrol Program.
After Wednesday's budget overrides, Abele's first budget is now set, and in the end, taxes for county property holders will rise by a little over two percent, an increase some will protest, but Board Chairman Lee Holloway says is necessary.
Funding for the county-wide EMS subsidy was also increased Wednesday, to $1.5 million. It is a 50 percent cut from previous years, but Abele was looking to get rid of it entirely. The Board also restored mental health funding and a technology budget that will put all Board members on the web. The Board also passed a new sheriff's deputies' union contract, in which the deputies gave up roughly $2.5 million in salaries and benefits, to save about 30 jobs.
The final budget may not have been what Abele was hoping for in his first budget, but he is optimistic next year's cycle will be a whole different ballgame.
"We've had six months to fill vacant positions, to get our hands around a $1.3 billion dollar budget, to get a feeling of the dynamic and the politics around here, and that's something we're going to get better at," Abele said Wednesday.