One of the biggest controversies in Milwaukee is the issue around lead pipe water laterals which may be compromising the health of thousands of Milwaukeeans living in older homes and apartments. The permanent solution is to replace the antiquated lead laterals with modern safer materials. But of course that solution runs to millions and millions of dollars.

So as limited funds become available they should be used for their intended purpose as soon as possible. Unless of course you are Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis!

A 2020 budget amendment from Alderwoman Chantia Lewis would take $50,130 from a city lead abatement program to create a new position focused on supporting events created by Common Council members.

To fund the position, $50,130 would be removed from the $5.2 million lead service line replacement fund. The fund is used to replace the approximately 75,000 lead laterals that connect homes to the city’s water system. Replacing all of the lead service lines is estimated to cost over $750 million.

I mean WTF? By all intents and purposes, $50,000 in the city budget is small potatoes…and it certainly would need to come from somewhere…but the lead abatement program?

But of course the money is for a good cause…it’s to support the members of the Common Council:

“We have in the City’s Clerk office a community outreach liaison who is by her lonesome and maintains 15 alders,” said Lewis during the Finance & Personnel Committee’s October 31st budget amendment meeting. “It’s a lot of work to do Bronzeville Week, Hip Hop Week, the 4th of July parade, Harvest Fest and all of the other things.”

I don’t doubt that it’s a lot of work. I don’t doubt that these are important events in each aldermanic district. But the last place the money should come from is a line item for public health and public safety. May I suggest it comes out of the combined budgets of the Common Council?

P.S. I thought that the 4th of July parades were county events, in and around the county parks. Is there a City of Milwaukee parade that I have been missing??

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