City Budget Calls For More Police, Scant Funding for Lead Pipe Removal

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has released details of his budget and the biggest benefactor of tax money will be the Milwaukee Police Department. Vowing to add more police officers to the force, Barrett admitted that his proposal “is sure to upset a lot of people.”

“Not surprisingly, public safety is gonna be, by far, the biggest portion of my budget,” Mayor Barrett said.

A draft released by the Milwaukee Common Council calls for more than 100 new officers and an emphasis on beat cops and traffic enforcement, in addition to eliminating three mandatory furlough days for officers.

A few weeks ago Mayor Barrett indicated his proposal will include $880,000 for body cameras for the Milwaukee Police Department. Barrett said his proposal will assure that MPD will be utilizing 1,200 body cameras.

“The police are obviously a very important part of what we`re trying to do for public safety — but we look at other factors when it comes to public safety as well. How much we`re putting into the programs that will deal with issues like crime prevention, violence reductions, summer jobs,” Mayor Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett also stated that his budget included $11 million dollars aimed at lead abatement.

The budget indicates a little over $4.5 million for lead paint abatement, and the rest for removing lead service lines from over 380 state licensed day care centers. There is money set aside for fixing leaks to water pipes, but no money directed to removing a portion of the 70,000 lead service lines poisoning water at these homes.

“Mayor Tom Barrett once again is attempting to force Milwaukee property owners into paying for removing their side of lead water pipes. We say NO!”, said Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC).

“Mayor Barrett has been in office for over 12 years. He’s been receiving revenue from water fees and placed those revenues in his general fund instead of investing that money towards removing these lead pipes while he’s been in office. In fact, he’s been recently receiving $12 million dollars from fees collected by Milwaukee Water Works. What did he do with this money? We can only guess. But one thing is for sure. He didn’t use this money to remove lead pipes poisoning our families and damaging our children’s growth and mental development,” continued Miranda.

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