Milwaukee Common Council passes budget; preserves fire, library services

The Milwaukee Common Council passes the city's next budget on Friday, Nov. 4. It amends Mayor Cavalier Johnson's proposal – staving off cuts to fire and paramedic services as well as library hours. But some officials say conversations around cuts need to happen.

A $1.7 billion budget is now headed to Mayor Johnson's desk. At the budget adoption meeting on Friday morning, Common Council members approved an amendment, 10-1. 

That amendment adds library funding – full-time positions and money for a temporary MLK branch during construction. There is also funding and personnel for the Milwaukee Fire Department.

The adopted budget holds off cuts proposed by the mayor. 

"That was a big thing that we heard from constitutents – that they weren’t ready for that type of a change," said Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Finance and Personnel Committee chair. 

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic

The Common Council approved the amended budget package 9-2. Aldermen Russell Stamper and Khalif Rainey voted against the amended plan.

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The budget now heads to the mayor's desk.

"We know -- as the chairwoman said -- we have a tough road ahead of us. Long series of conversations with (the) mayor, among ourselves -- most importantly -- and with our community." said Common Council President Jose Perez.

Common Council President Jose Perez

The funding restoring Mayor Johnson's proposed cuts is being offset by $4 million of American Rescue Act funds – as well as delaying the first police recruit class by four pay periods and reducing the payment to the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC). 

"But I do want to caution that with our fiscal situation, change is on the horizon," Dimitrijevic said.

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While the cuts may have been held off for now, they will not be for long. Mayor Johnson's office said it does not have a timeline for how soon a budget signing of vetoes will take place. 

The mayor has up to seven business days to take action on the budget.