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Milwaukee County Budget adopted in 17-1 vote, JobLines extended to August 2019

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --The Milwaukee County Board voted Monday to approve the 2019 budget in a 17-1 vote. 

The budget includes an extension of the JobLines route that serves hundreds of Milwaukeeans who need to get to their jobs in the suburbs. 

Routes 6 and 61, also known as the "JobLines" were created to be temporary and slated to shut down at the end of 2018. 

"You've gotta take stuff that's in your area. I would rather put $660,000 into job development within Milwaukee County."

County Supervisor John Weishan of the 16th District spoke out against funding the service. 

"This is a business subsidy," said Weishan. 

According to county supervisors, more than 800 people in Milwaukee County use the bus routes every day during the week to get to work. 

"The people spoke. They spoke at our public hearing. We listened and we acted on continuing to connect bus riders to important jobs in Waukesha County, said District 4 Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic. 

Supervisors warned stopping the routes would force people to find alternatives and possibly lose their jobs. 

Weishan argued those dollars could instead be used locally for a boost in Milwaukee County. 

"But we're going to spend our hard earned dollars, my constituents in Milwaukee and West Allis, so that Wal-Mart can get a person for $10 an hour instead of $15. I don't think that's right," said Weishan. 

The extension is a temporary fix -- the route is only funded until August 2019. 

"We wanted to keep the good work going, the jobs flowing, stimulate our economy but we're certainly going to have to revisit this in the middle of next year. It's a temporary fix," said Dimitrijevic.

Supervisor Weishan was the only no vote on the budget. It includes a number of other changes including increased fares at the Zoo and some county park facilities. 

The 2019 Milwaukee County Adopted Budget includes several amendments to County Executive Abele's budget proposal. Amendments from Chairman Theodore Lipscomb include one to double the proposed pay increase for county employees from 1% to 2% and an amendment that would purchase up to 15 battery electric buses to start transitioning the county to clean energy. Supervisors unanimously adopted another amendment that increases the county's rainy day fund by a little more than $650,000.

The 2018 Adopted Budget calls for a property tax levy of $294,395,459 for a total expenditure of $1,188,577,674. The 2019 levy is a .54% increase over 2018 the tax levy and far less than the 1.43% increase in net new construction, which determines the allowable levy increase.

Supervisors could meet on November 12 to consider any vetoes from the County Executive.

For more information about the Milwaukee County Budget, please click here. 

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