Mayor Barrett Delivers 2020 State of the City Address
February 11, 2020
MILWAUKEE— Highlighting Milwaukee’s progress and growth, Mayor Tom Barrett presented the 2020 State of the City Address on Monday at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Mayor Barrett emphasized the City’s efforts to improve the vitality, safety and health of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, increase equitable economic opportunity, and attract and invest in family-supporting jobs.
Mayor Barrett’s speech opened with an exciting update about the Democratic National Convention. He shared, “I’m pleased to announce a special opportunity for people who live here. I’ve arranged for convention planners, in the days leading up to the convention, to open the Fiserv Forum at specific times for public tours. I want as many people as possible to have an opportunity to see, first hand, the convention space.”
The mayor continued his address by providing an update on the health of Milwaukee, both physically and fiscally. Mayor Barrett first reported that, due to the collective work of the City’s police department, health department, expanded Office of Violence Prevention, and Blueprint for Peace, crimes have decreased across every major crime category, from homicides, to non-fatal shootings, to carjackings.
Next, Mayor Barrett laid out the City’s plans to continue eliminating lead hazards. He cited the $5.6 million award from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that will provide the resources necessary to make 300 homes lead safe by 2022. In addition, he stated that the City has allocated millions of dollars in its 2020 budget to train dozens of workers in lead abatement and remove lead hazards in 150 homes.
Mayor Barrett proudly shared that Milwaukee has maintained the highest quality, lead-safe water treatment for over 20 years, and that its lead pipe replacement policy has been cited as a model for other cities. He announced the City has replaced over 2,500 lead service lines and provided over 13,000 water filters to at-risk households to date.
Mayor Barrett highlighted the work the City is doing to prevent opioid-related deaths through its nationally recognized program that provides outreach and life-saving resources to individuals affected by addiction. He cited a $750,000 grant that will aid in the program’s growth by expanding its response and research efforts.
In an initiative focused on children, families, and Milwaukee’s future, Mayor Barrett announced the creation of a new early childhood development effort. It will provide for coordination among a wide range of stakeholders to establish Milwaukee as a national leader in ensuring its youngest citizens are off to a strong and healthy start.
The mayor then turned his focus to the City’s fiscal health, highlighting diminishing shared revenue from the state and rising public safety obligations. With others in the public and private sector, the Mayor is endorsing a voter-approved, one-percent local sales tax. He urged Milwaukeeans to advocate for the proposal, warning that these burdens are not going away.
Mayor Barrett shared some of the City’s neighborhood economic development work over the past year. He stated that the Commercial Corridor Team was able to provide $1 million to local businesses and commercial property owners through 100 revitalization grants. In addition, he shared that the City’s partnership with Brew City Match has leveraged a $1.7 million investment into 18 local projects.
In his remarks, Mayor Barrett explained how the City is helping increase homeownership. He confirmed that the City is on track with his 10,000 Household initiative that promotes affordable housing. Mayor Barrett also announced the private sector anti-displacement fund is providing 110 homeowners with the resources to mitigate the impact of rising tax bills in specific neighborhoods where property values have climbed significantly.
Mayor Barrett called attention to a new development that will generate revenue while advancing the City’s goals to invest in renewable energy. “We are partnering to build the largest solar energy system in Milwaukee. Built and maintained by We Energies, it will return at least $90,000 annually to the city. And the solar field can provide back-up power to the adjacent Air National Guard,” Mayor Barrett said.
Further, Mayor Barrett provided an update on Milwaukee’s streetcar. The Hop welcomed We Energies as a new $100,000 sponsor supporting free streetcar service during the Democratic National Convention. The Mayor went on to reaffirm his commitment to extend the streetcar into Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.
Mayor Barrett urged every eligible resident of the city to vote in this year’s upcoming elections while acknowledging past hurdles and a new effort to knock registered voters off the rolls based on inaccurate data. “Over the last decade, Wisconsin lawmakers have rolled out unprecedented changes to election laws. These changes particularly affect people in poverty, students and seniors, and Milwaukee, as the state’s largest city,” Mayor Barrett said.
The Mayor concluded his speech with a special request: “Every 10 years, the United States conducts a census of our entire population. For every person that goes uncounted, we risk losing $1,600 every year in federal aid. Please complete your census questionnaire, which you’ll be receiving in the next few week, by April 1, 2020, Census Day.”
For a video of remarks visit: https://youtu.be/E6GeYBdJPEI.