John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
When we celebrated Independence Day at Humboldt Park with the 4th of July Association, I looked at the Humboldt Park lagoon. Because of the very high cattails and other weeds and the very muddy water, you could barely see the water. If you tried to cut down the cat tails, you would get into trouble with the law. This was a very beautiful park, until the County Pension Scandal cut some of the funding for the parks. If it was your lawn, you would get a ticket from the police department for having weeds that are too high. The park workers do the best job that they can to maintain the park, but they are short staffed due to funding from Milwaukee County. The staff at Humboldt Park has to control 12 parks with very few available workers. Call your County Supervisors and see what they can do about this situation.
Supervisor Chris Larson wants to have a lagoon cattail removal (or thinning out) day scheduled for Saturday, November 8, 2008 at 10:00 AM. He, the Humboldt Park Watch, and other volunteers are invited to attend this event. The cattails in the Humboldt park lagoon are an invasive species, so the Wisconsin DNR does approve of this action. Any volunteers are requested to have hip boots due to the water where the cattails lie. These are several feet tall and block the view of the park lagoon. It will be a blessing to see them disappear from our sight.
On the November 4th ballot, there is an advisory referendum concerning a tax shift plan that will add a sales tax to lower property taxes, save our parks, improve mass transit, improve recreation, and culture and EMS (Paramedics) funding. A recent study shows that the Milwaukee County Transit System will face a $20 million shortfall within two years if a dedicated funding source, such as a 1% sales tax, is not applied. Deferred maintenance in the parks now exceeds $300 million. Funding for crucial EMS services can also be stabilized through dedicated funding.
The referendum question asks if you support removing these services from the property tax rolls--currently paid by Milwaukee County property owners--and shifting them to a sales tax , a significant percentage of which is paid for by visitors to Milwaukee County and those who do not own property.
The advisory referendum question states property tax relief of at least $67 million. If this policy were in effect in 2008, it would establish a new county tax levy base of approximately $183 million, the lowest level since 1997 and down from the 2008 level of $250 million.
Only the Governor and Legislature can grant Milwaukee County officials the authority to increase the county's sales and use tax, but this is your chance to weigh in.
We encourage your thoughtful consideration and urge you to express your preference in this advisory referendum on November 4, 2008. The yes or no question will read:
"Shall the State of Wisconsin grant Milwaukee County the authority to provide property tax relief of at least sixty-seven million dollars ($67 million) by levying a one percent county use and sales tax to be used to remove the following three items from the property tax levy: parks, recreation and culture; transit; and emergency medical services (EMS)?"
Earlier this year, a super-majority of the County Board voted to place this item on the ballot. we want YOU to have a voice in this discussion, and we encourage you to participate in this important referendum on November 4th.
This information has come from the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. I strongly encourage you to support this referendum to save our parks, transit and EMS services. Too many cuts have almost destroyed the works of our past leaders to create and maintain these services. If we can get some property tax relief, and save these services, it will help all of us to solve a problem that needs solving. Please consider the benefits of this referendum. You are the boss in these matters, so please vote in this election.