Public hearing held; concerns brought up over Milwaukee County's proposed 2023 budget

NOW: Public hearing held; concerns brought up over Milwaukee County’s proposed 2023 budget

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --The Milwaukee Finance Committee held a public hearing Monday evening on the 2023 recommended budget.

The hearing was a chance for the public to speak directly to the committee and voice their concerns -- most of them dealing with the paratransit taxi service.

"This budget does not reflect the needs or desires of people in this county," said Ron J., one of the residents who tuned in virtually.

The proposed 2023 Milwaukee County budget totals $1.37 billion and focuses on mental health and youth services. It also promises to increase county parks and plans to better racial equity.

However, some residents are concerned that the one resource they rely on the most-- to get to and from places--like the paratransit taxi service, will no longer be an option for them.

"It's been around for 40 years, and people rely on it to get to employment, to get to medical care and to other essential needs," expressed Barbara Beckert, from the Southeastern Wisconsin Office of Disability Rights.

Those with disabilities say their options are already limited.

The committee's proposal would also cut community-based services in the youth justice system.

"Since the murder of George Floyd, especially, people have been demanding better accountability for police and less spending...and instead of moving that money to community resources that actually benefit people who live in these communities, and instead, we're just shoving that money in the sheriff's departments pocket," added Ron J.

Others are pushing for better mental health resources to combat violence.

"Adequate access to mental health services is dire to address some of the violence in Milwaukee," added community activist with the MKE Task Force Vaun Mayes.

Another public hearing is set to take place on Nov. 1. The budget adoption is scheduled for Nov. 10.

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