Milwaukee County Board to vote on $300k cost tacked on to Living Wage Ordinance

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by Sachelle Saunders


MILWAUKEE -- Supervisor Deanna Alexander is steaming mad about costs associated with the living wage ordinance.


"Living wage ordinance never should have been passed," Alexander said.


Two months after the controversial living wage law was put on the books in Milwaukee County, taxpayers are finding they are on the hook for several hundred thousand dollars to implement it. Alexander says that was not made clear to taxpayers.


"The repercussions of the ordinance were not going to match the way it was marketed to the community," Alexander said.


The Audit Services Division says it will need $300,000 for three new positions that will oversee the implementation of the ordinance. The workers primary job would be to enforce it. The county will have to take $78, 384 out of reserves just to cover pay for employees through the remainder of this year. Another $217,369 will be worked out in the 2015 budget. Alexander says taxpayer were told they wouldn’t owe a dime.


"We were told by its authors that it wouldn't cost Milwaukee County taxpayers anything, we were told businesses would pick up the expenses and wouldn't even pass cost along. So, I really do feel like the public has been duped," Alexander said.


We asked supporter and County Supervisor David Bowen about the complaint, and he says the cost to implement was assumed.


"This is all a part of the original law that we passed, so we are totally okay with investing in Milwaukee county residents, investing into the compliance of the living wage ordinance, because we've made this decision already," Bowen said.


The board will vote on the new positions at the next county meeting Thursday morning.

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