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Budget Brief: Milwaukee County 2015 Executive Budget

Whereas the 2014 budget was remarkable by Milwaukee County standards given its manageable structural gap and the opportunity it afforded to reinvest in infrastructure and services, the 2015 recommended budget reflects a more familiar set of fiscal circumstances. Faced with increased pressure from fringe benefit and salary costs and less capacity to withdraw funds from the Debt Service Reserve, the county executive and his budget team returned to the customary scenario of a substantial budget gap and a limited set of options to address it.

Reflecting the nature of that challenge, the budget is noticeably lacking in major new spending initiatives when compared to 2014.  Instead, it reflects almost a singular focus on the structural deficit, using additional health care changes, a wage freeze, and a series of restructuring and outsourcing initiatives both to fill the 2015 gap, and to effectuate long-term savings that should better position the County to alleviate its long-term structural imbalance.