Responsibly Stewarding Your Money

Invest, not spend. That is how we have approached allocating precious taxpayer dollars in South Milwaukee since I’ve been mayor, and it’s how I will work in Madison.

Investments deliver value, and require a return on that investment. They also require accountability on the back end, to ensure that money was spent wisely. 

I’m proud to say we are delivering in South Milwaukee. And I will deliver in the legislature. Our record is strong, but don’t take my word for it. 

  • Ask Moody’s. They have consistently reaffirmed South Milwaukee’s strong Aa2 bond rating and recently cited our “strong financial position” in doing so. 
  • Ask the Wisconsin Policy Forum. They recently found South Milwaukee’s per capita municipal tax levy to be the third-lowest among Milwaukee County communities. Similarly, we stacked up well in their measures of net operating spending per capita (second lowest) and debt (also third lowest).
  • Ask the growing list of mayors who have endorsed me, including Franklin’s Steve Olson and Oak Creek’s Dan Bukiewicz. Said Mayor Dan: ““As mayors, we have a responsibility to provide the crucial public services on which we all rely, and need to make tough decisions about our municipal budgets. Madison has not made that any easier. We need someone like Erik who will stand up for Oak Creek in the Capitol.”

We have consistently delivered annual budgets with reasonable and responsible increases in taxes — including a less than 1% tax increase projected for 2021, and a more than 3 percent tax decrease in 2019. 

Along the way we’ve been able to invest significantly where it matters most, in our …

  • First Responders: We acted to preserve our paramedics and add two new police officers, and that investment is paying off. Service is up, crime is down, and we never take for granted the work of these everyday heroes. 
  • Public Health: We’ve found new ways, and new partners, to deliver these critical services, and we’re seeing results, needed now more than ever. We’ve added capabilities to take a leadership role in responding to the pandemic, while continuing to confront community health issues like addiction.
  • Economic Development: We’ve brought new businesses into the city and enabled long-standing ones to grow in South Milwaukee, while bringing new tools, incentives and partnerships to the table, to do even more. We are starting downtown, taking concrete actions and making real investments to breathe new life into our city center and ensure its long-term success. Take a drive down Milwaukee Avenue and see for yourself.
  • Clean Water: We’re working with public and private partners to renew the Oak Creek watershed, planning to work, and soon working the plan for long-overdue environmental, ecological and recreational improvements. And we’ve invested in our water and wastewater utilities, equipping them to serve generations to come. Yes, that led to a water rate increase. Learn more here
  • Communications: We’re sharing important information more frequently and in new ways, and better telling our story with residents, visitors and business owners. That includes the launch of new digital and print platforms and the installation of fiber to speed the flow of data across the city.
  • Efficiency and Technology: We’ve made our government more efficient, becoming easier to do business with, and improving how we deliver the first-class services you have come to expect. It started with developing the city’s first strategic plan in decades.

We are proud of all of this work. But our system is broken. In an era of more and more unfunded state mandates, restrictive levy limits, and a loss of local control in how we shape our finances, we — and cities and village across the 21st Assembly District and state — need help from Madison to continue investing in our future.

I’ll be posting more on this soon. And vote Brooks on November 3.

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