Saturday, May 19, 2007

SEWRPC Drops The Ball On A Housing Plan Already 32 Years Late

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has yet to begin its long overdue housing plan - - the current plan hasn't been updated since 1975 - - but hasn't begun because it says it can't find the money.

SEWRPC didn't any have such shyness going after the million bucks it needed to fund its ongoing water supply study - - the highest priority for the suburban officials who lead and dominate the seven-county agency.

In fact, it dipped into a little known Milwaukee County deed transfer bank account to get $261,000 when the Milwaukee County board wouldn't quickly pony up the dough.

True story. Read all about it here.

And SEWRPC managed to find another million dollars a few years ago to write a freeway expansion plan - - again, a subject and recommendation wildly popular with the commission's prevailing suburban constituents.

More water...more highways...but a housing plan?

Housing with the public seal of approval is a low priority for SEWRPC.

Why go out and raise the money to study whether there is adequate housing for everyone in the region when in suburbia and exurbia, the private market is dictating big houses in large-lot, sprawl settings, even converting property like Pabst Farms to 1,500 single-family homes in contradiction to SEWRPC's recommendations to preserve environmental corridors.

This is another reason that Milwaukee County, where housing issues are critical, should pull its funding out of SEWRPC.

Out. Completely. Zero dollars to SEWRPC from Milwaukee County taxpayers.

Milwaukee County provides the largest annual share of the agency's property-tax funds annually, but gets little or no value for the investment.

And the City of Milwaukee makes up the heart of the county, and has the largest number of people with major housing needs - - but the City of Milwaukee has zero representation on the 21-member SEWRPC governing board.

That's taxation without representation.