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Exclusive: New report lays out options for funding Milwaukee County Justice Center

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A new report is being released Tuesday regarding funding options for Milwaukee’s aging Safety Building.

CBS 58 got an exclusive look at the report ahead of its release.

Right now, Milwaukee County is looking at building a $300 million justice center to replace the Safety Building that was built in 1929. The county says the Safety Building is no longer suitable for justice-related space needs.

In the new report, the Wisconsin Policy Forum looks at how courthouse projects of the same scope across the country were carried out and financed.

The report lists the pros and cons of several funding options including increasing court fees, increasing the county sales tax or using the 0.1 percent Miller Park sales tax to help fund the justice center once the ballpark’s tax expires next year or early 2020.

The report also lays out examples from cities across the country that used the following finance strategies:

  • Using conventional general obligation (G.O.) bonds and repaying the principal and interest with existing revenue streams.
  • Reducing financing costs and debt through new sources of capital
  • Creating new revenue sources for annual debt payments
  • Re-configuring bond repayment to reduce annual debt service costs

Many of the options would require help or approval from the state. Now, it’s up to the county to decide what option of combination of funding options to pursue.

The full report can be seen below:

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