MILOWOKY, WI – At its last full committee meeting this month, the Milwaukee Board unanimously approved $ 21.9 million in the U.S. Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to be allocated as a one-time investment that provides long-term cost savings for Milwaukee County. . The investment is the result of a fiscal health challenge led by the Office of Strategy, Budget and Efficiency to find opportunities to generate cost savings, increase revenue and operational efficiency. In addition, many projects address the need for deferred infrastructure maintenance and provide energy efficiency savings that help meet Milwaukee’s climate action goals.
“When we started the process of allocating funding from ARPA, we knew we had to approach the process in a way that allowed us to maintain access to critical services for our community and create a solid foundation for Milwaukee County to continue to be the country’s economic engine. Said County Executive David Crowley. “I applaud the strategy, budget and effectiveness of the Office, the ARPA working group and the entire county council for their focus on investing in Milwaukee’s financial health and security. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the county’s services each year, from parks to transit to mental health. Our residents rely on us to support the services and programs that aim to keep Milwaukee healthy, working and moving. By signing this legislation today, we are helping to ensure that critical services can continue for our community. “
The Fiscal Health Challenge has given departments the opportunity to present proposed projects that make limited, one-off investments in strategies that will address the structural deficit caused by a perfect storm of stagnant state aid, government-imposed revenue-generating restrictions and increased demand; costs for critical services.
Projects approved by the county council include:
- $ 1.5 million for improvements to the King Community Center building: Updates to the facade of the municipal center that have not been updated since 1976, replacement of a leaking roof and replacement of windows and doors with safer, more energy efficient improvements. This project provides funding for deferred maintenance, which must be addressed in the county’s capital plan, while providing ongoing cost savings through energy efficiency improvements and reduced needs for routine building renovations.
- $ 69,300 for electronic boat launch stations: Install new payment kiosks at boat launch sites to offer the ability to collect cashless payments and printed receipts to be displayed on customer control panels, which the Parks Department estimates will increase revenue from boat launches with 20% (or approximately $ 7,500 per year). The new payment stations will also save staff time through automation and the use of modern equipment.
- $ 6.4 million for golf course irrigation / wheelchair upgrade: It replaced the irrigation systems of four golf courses and installed new wheelchairs on two golf courses in the county. The project will replace obsolete irrigation systems with modern energy-efficient infrastructure, which will also save staff time. The parks department estimates $ 107,000 in annual cost savings and $ 200,000 in revenue annually as a result of the upgrades.
- $ 2.7 million to turn parks into bike / hiking trails: Converts two underused and difficult to maintain parks into bike / hiking trails. Bicycle and footpaths will reduce the need for infrastructure maintenance in the future, while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
- $ 1.5 million for boiler replacement in the entire Parks system: Replaces obsolete and dangerous steam boilers that remain in operation in five buildings of the park. Currently used steam boilers require physical maintenance every 3 days to ensure safe operation. The new heating systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create operational efficiency and provide an opportunity to increase revenue-generating activity due to improvements in building safety.
- $ 3 million for energy-efficient park lighting upgrades: It replaces inefficient and outdated lighting, which in turn will improve the safety of park users in county parks and gardens, especially at night and early in the morning. The parks department estimates 10-40 percent savings in electricity costs.
- $ 696,534 for Milwaukee Records Management Improvements: The project is needed to help bring Milwaukee County in line with state law requiring changes to the management of electronic records. The change is also needed to support a project to dispose of physical records, which will significantly cover the current cost of $ 300,000 per year to store off-site records.
- $ 125,000 for the Department of Transportation, building a solar system: Carrying out a feasibility study for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the transport building.
- $ 550,000 for a mass spectrometer in the forensic doctor’s office: Allows the laboratory to reduce execution time and frees the laboratory for revenue generation by requiring toxicological work from other jurisdictions.
- $ 1.9 million for a new system for sale at the county zoo: Invest in a new sales system to save costs, provide expanded payment options and increase revenue, and continue the program to modernize the zoo’s main entrance
- $ 1.8 million to set up on-site health clinics in Milwaukee County ($ 1.8 million): Establishes three on-site health clinics for county employees to increase access to care and reduce county costs. By implanting clinics on site, the county could see a drastic reduction in medical claims through reduced visits to emergency care and emergency departments, combined with an increase in preventive care. Employee benefits include employee retention, removal of the most common barriers to accessing health care, including but not limited to; transportation, child care and the opportunity to rest to go to the doctor.
- $ 275,000 in control of employment of buildings in parks: Install remote control of buildings and automated systems that will provide more efficient management of park facilities. The parks department estimates $ 50,000 a year to save energy and staff costs.
- $ 1.2 million for Zoo Network upgrade: Improves internet capacity and speed at the county zoo. The current network has stability problems caused by aging and damaged equipment.
- $ 227,260 for testing leaded drinking water in county facilities: Preliminary analysis of Milwaukee County for lead in water sources at county facilities. It is expected to reduce risk, responsibility to the county and improve health outcomes.