Survey Results: Stepping up To Be Heard on the Future of Paramedics and Police

Residents have spoken, and the message is clear: You value our first-class fire and police services.

In all, 1,351 residents responded our recent community-wide survey on public safety funding. Thank you to everyone who filled one out. This feedback will help the city decide how to address our budget challenges moving forward.

The survey results were presented at last night’s council meeting. The presentation is available on the city website.

Highlights from the presentation include:

  • 88% of respondents indicated that maintaining the current level of emergency services is important to them and their families.
  • Three-quarters of the respondents encouraged the city to explore additional funding options to maintain the current level of EMS services rather than reducing services to balance the budget.
  • A majority of respondents support a referendum to increase local property taxes in order to maintain existing fire and emergency medical services and hire two additional police officers.

As I have posted previously, a continuing decline in outside funding for paramedic services – especially funding from Milwaukee County – has created a significant budget gap that continues to grow. The city must take action if it is to preserve locally provided paramedic services into the future. We have also identified a need for additional police officers to fulfill all of the department’s response and preventative responsibilities.

The question is, how do we accomplish that? That is where the survey comes in — making sure your voice is heard loud and clear as we plan for the future.

Again, thank you for stepping up.

Next steps: The common council will continue to evaluate the community’s feedback before making a final decision on whether or not to proceed with a referendum as part of the 2018 budget process. If a referendum is scheduled, it would likely be in early November. We will keep you posted.

My ask: Continue to educate yourself on these issues, and be heard. Your voices always matter.

As a reminder, the city developed an Assessment of Public Safety Funding Options to provide additional information on this issue.

 

8 Comments

Filed under South Milwaukee

8 responses to “Survey Results: Stepping up To Be Heard on the Future of Paramedics and Police

  1. Rick

    1,351 respondents out of over 7,000 households is only approximately 20% response rate and is not a number that can accurately gauge the sentiment of the total residents.

  2. It’s the best measure we have at this point. The response rate was considered strong and very much statistically significant.

  3. SM Guy

    The problem with the survey is, like a lot of these types of surveys, it focused on one thing, with the goal of scaring people into agreeing to a tax increase for fire & police services. If the budget is an issue, why weren’t other issues asked?

    * Do we need street department interns when most of the time you see crews of 4-5 and only 2 people working?
    * Do we need to worry about trees when there is concern about funding police and fire?
    * Do we need to spend for a architect planner for a brew pub when there isn’t even anybody on the string to move in – and we have new empty businesses on the corner of Marquette?
    * Are we making full use of Act 10?
    * Does each ward need 2 alderpersons?
    * Can we transition to year-round street parking permits?
    * Can we raise the fees for 3rd parties to use our police services – such as what UPAF should have paid for police to close down one of our main streets, or to close down the park road for other school functions?
    * Do we need to fix the side street sidewalks or, since we have vast stretches without them, can we give the other residents a break from shoveling by just removing them?
    * If the Police & Fire departments can be governed by just an appointed commission, do we need a big separate school board? Alternatively, if the fire and police had elected representatives that looked ONLY at those services would there be such easy talk of a cut?
    * Do we need to pay a somebody from the street department to run a front end loader to clean out the plowing at special peoples’ houses while the rest of us struggle with our own driveways?
    * Are we working with our State representatives to fix the laws so we don’t have to pay a 3rd party to pick up half our garbage which they are going to turn around a sell?

    As you can see, this is just a quick list of what could be asked if someone were actually concerned about the budget. However, as is seen in other communities and governments (state / county) its always easiest to threaten Police and Fire if you want the people to consider higher taxes.

  4. Melanie Poser

    Here, here SM. GUY. We all know a referendum is whats coming. Is there an end date for the ability to increase our taxes mayor? We are still paying off that behemoth of a school, aren’t we?

    • Rick

      You are correct Melanie!! If our City Officials decide to do a referendum, then a group needs to be formed to oppose the referendum and educate the citizens that they are still paying for the School. Maybe the City should stop wasting money on studies of how to grow our downtown and spending money for grants to businesses so that they can repair their storefronts at City taxpayer expense rather than by City Code enforcement.

      • Pug

        I’ve always thought the same. All these consultants and nothing ever really comes from it. Seems like a lot of wasted money. I remember a couple of years ago paying taxes at city hall and seeing a pie chart posted on the teller window of where our tax money was going. It was something like 52 or 55% going to the school district. That’s huge for a city with a little over 21,000 people in it

      • Melanie

        Rick, l am in the phone book

  5. Melanie

    Time to really look at closing that ancient library, what’s the expenditure on that. $800,000? There are 2 brand new libraries a few miles north and south. How about the street department. How come Oak Creek, which is much larger than S.M. can make it work with 31, and we have 29 men, many whom l have personally seen idle. Why is everything a sacred cow in this city?

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