Sunday, October 16, 2011

Will Milwaukee County Throw Away Another $800,000+ On SEWRPC?

Every year, same old story, or here, too - - Milwaukee County ships to the un-elected Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission an annual gob of taxpayer dollars without a contract, a performance review, a memo about deliverables for the coming year, a projected or promised work plan, a wish list - - nada - - and though about half of that County funding comes from City of Milwaukee taxpayers, the City has no representation out at the Pewaukee-based Commission's 21-member, heavily suburban and rural board.

SEWRPC simply draws up an annual budget - - no taxpayers are involved - - and allots each of seven counties a sum it expects to be sent to meet its budget - - the agency's 2011 budget is here - -  and the counties ship off the money.

Milwaukee County's assessment in 2011 - - $830,000, and not mere chump change for a broke county.

And the county has sent SEWRPC more than $20 million since the state set up SEWRPC 50 years ago and assigned Milwaukee County to it, along with the very non-urban Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Walworth, Kenosha and Racine Counties.

And you wonder why SEWRPC wrote for the region a $6.4 billion freeway plan (no new transit in it), waited 35 years to finally start some months ago a regional housing plan and endorsed diverting Lake Michigan water to Waukesna and other non-lakefront communities.

Also tried last week to find out if SEWRPC is still planning on holding its annual taxpayer-paid December soiree at The University Club, a private club, but didn't get any firm information back.

The city and regional economies are stagnant, SEWRPC doesn't have even a satellite office in the City of Milwaukee, and has not one City resident on its board - - but it likes to meet at a private club in the City once a year and have a fancy dinner on the public dime.

1 comment:

Paul Trotter said...

SEWRPC was created to provide objective information and professional planning initiatives to help solve problems and to focus regional attention on key issues of regional consequence.  Regional planning provides a meaningful technical approach to the proper planning and design of public works systems, such as:
Water Supply
Park and Open Space Facilities

It appears to me that they have failed miserably in 3 of five area, especially transit.

Why is William Drew still on this commission? Seems to me we could use a more aggressive individual representing Milwaukee County. He also contributed $1,000 to Walker's campaign. Is there a conflict of interest here?
Here are some quotes from Mr. Drew- not exactly what I want to hear from someone representing Milwaukee County.
A: In examining the commission’s history, what leaps out is not how it has changed, but how it has remained focused on and faithful to the original mission. Like the great cathedrals of Europe, which were built over a period of 500 or 600 years and were built on a solid base with elements added over time, our regional plan was founded on a solid base of information and each year elements were added or updated to create a framework plan that is, in a way, ever constant, yet ever changing.
All of these separate efforts are the tiles that form the mosaic that is the regional plan for southeastern Wisconsin. So my view is not one of great change, but of a constant effort to continue the original directive which created the Southeastern Regional Planning Commission by each year adding and updating elements of the regional plan.