Public Safety Referendum

Public Safety Referendum Fact Sheet

South Milwaukee has strong and successful fire, paramedic and police services that are currently at risk from a growing budget gap – the need and cost for programs continues to rise, but the funding from current sources is either stagnant or decreasing.

  • The state limits the amount of property taxes a municipality can collect each year. In 2018, that means the state only allows South Milwaukee to increase the tax levy by $9,688 to fund a $19.7 million budget.
  • The City has made a number of budget cuts since 2003 and implemented a variety of other cost saving strategies to balance the budget and meet the needs of residents.


The City evaluated several funding options to maintain the strong public safety services residents have come to expect. The City developed an Assessment of Public Safety Funding Options that provides additional background on the decisions facing local leaders.

As part of a community-wide survey, South Milwaukee residents voiced support for seeking additional funding to maintain these critical public safety services, with the majority supporting a referendum.

In August, the South Milwaukee Common Council acted by approving a referendum that will seek approval from voters to provide additional resources to fund public safety. A special election will be held Tuesday, November 7. See Resolution

The referendum question asks taxpayers for permission to increase the tax levy to maintain current paramedic services and hire two additional police officers. If approved by voters, homeowners would pay an additional $52 per year ($35 going toward paramedics and $17 going toward police) for every $100,000 of their home’s value starting in 2018 and beyond.

Make an informed decision and learn more:
Referendum Information Open House
Thursday, October 12 (5 – 7 p.m. at City Hall)
Monday, October 30 (5 – 7 p.m. at City Hall)

City officials will be available to answer your questions, listen to your concerns, and hear your comments.

This is an open house format and representatives will be available throughout the session.  It is not necessary to arrive at the designated start time.  Please attend as your schedule allows.