Abele insists budget plans aren't personal or political
Lacey Crisp reports Video by 620wtmj.comvideo
MILWAUKEE- Here's the challenge for Milwaukee's County executive: Fill a $28 million hole in the budget while not raising taxes.
That's put Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele at odds with other county leaders -- like the sheriff.
A proposal to have Milwaukee police patrol parks, like the lakefront, instead of the sheriff's department isn't sitting well with the sheriff. He says he will continue patrolling the areas anyway.
The county executive argues it comes down to better public safety and saving money.
"There is money in the budget for the sheriff to do parks patrol, but that hasn't been happening in a meaningful level," says Abele. "We've been hearing that from the parks department, and the local police departments for years."
For a second year in a row, County Executive Chris Abele wants to cut the sheriff department's budget -- this time shifting responsibility of patrolling parks to local police.
"You have to wonder if this is a well thought out plan," asked Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo.
Abele says his proposal to have police watch over parks instead of the sheriff's department is not personal, he says it's to save taxpayers nearly $2 million.
"I haven't in the past ever made decisions on politics or personality. I'm not doing it now," said Abele.
Supervisor Sanfelippo doesn't want to put public safety at risk to save a few dollars, and adds it looks like a personal jab from the county executive.
"I don't really think it was intentional, but it appears that way because of the tensions that have happened in the past," says Sanfelippo.
Sheriff Clarke hasn't responded for a comment.
Abele wouldn't give specifics on the rest of his budget, but he'll present the full budget proposal to the county board on Thursday.