Should Milwaukee County Dissolve?
A Public Policy Forum report suggests Milwaukee should get rid of county services and let city and state leaders take over. Video by tmj4.comvideo
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County has been facing massive pension and health care costs for years. A new report looks at several ideas to address the budget concerns, one of them involving dissolving county government.
The Public Policy Forum looked at whether some or all county services could be handed over to state and city government. The report did not promote any particular approach, but rather examined the potential effectiveness of various cuts or consolidation in the county. The report did not look at potential consolidation or cuts in city government.
County government does more than you might think. They oversee the Sheriff's Department, Mitchell International Airport, highways, buses, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and even some health services. The report admits that moving all of that to the state or cities would be difficult.
"Without question that would be a very complicated endeavor that would require an inordinate amount of leadership at the state level," said Rob Henken, President of the Public Policy Forum.
The report also details two other plans to consolidate or cut only some aspects of county government.
Some city officials think the idea of cuts to county government, whether large or small, is worth talking about.
"If there's the opportunity to consolidate services, and think more regionally in terms of how we deliver those services, I'm open to hearing that," said Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic says she's open to cuts. However, she believes dissolving all county government will leave smaller, suburban communities struggling to provide services the counties once provided. She believes there are more effective solutions to look at.
"To dissolve it would be early, irresponsible, and probably wouldn't even work out," Dimitrijevic said.
County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker said the report affirms his own reform plans for the county. The Public Policy Forum's report was commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Committee, which is chaired by Mike Grebe, Walker's campaign manager.