Mayor Scrima says cleaning up entryways a priority in 2014 budget

Submitted photo
Weeds and untrimmed areas can be seen at Moreland Boulevard on Highway 18 in Waukesha. Mayor Jeff Scrima plans to put more of an emphasis on funding and overseeing the proper maintenance of the median and highway areas in his 2014 budget.
Published on: 10/1/2013

Mayor Jeff Scrima said he had a goal during his first two years in office.

'I vetoed the city budget with the goal of a zero-percent tax increase, and for the first time in the history of the city for the last three years our taxes have remained nearly flat,' Scrima said.

Now, for 2014, he has another goal for the city's budget: cutting the grass.

Scrima said the focus will be on entryways into the City of Waukesha.

'That's something I'm making a priority in the budget,' Scrima said. 'We've been discusing it for the last couple of years but now we're taking a stand on that and taking care of it.'

He's doing this because of what he sees on county roads throughout the city.

'The lack of grass cutting does not look good,' said Scrima, highlighting the long grass, weeds and untrimmed areas along Highways 18, 59 and 164.

Scrima said these areas have started to look this way since the state stopped funding the proper maintenance of the grass along these highways a number of years ago.

'They just haven't been taken care of,' Scrima said. 'And it is something that's very visible. We can't count on the state or county to properly maintain these areas, and we can't ask our residents to cut their grass if we don't properly maintain the median and highway areas within city limits.'

Scrima said area municipalities, such as Brookfield, keep its medians and highways looking good through its general city taxes.

He said the difference is apparent when comparing Waukesha's Moreland Boulevard (Highway 18) to Brookfield's Bluemound Road (also Highway 18).

'The City of Brookfield has taken responsibility for that and we believe we can do the same,' Scrima said. 'With the economy now recovering, we ought to fund and oversee the proper maintenance of the median and highway areas within city limits through our 2014 city budget.'

Scrima said due to the tax money realized from new residential and commercial developments in the city the last couple of years, the resources are available.

'The new taxes generated from the increase in growth in the city during the last couple of years will more than cover the cost for us to maintain these areas,' Scrima said. 'Our citizens deserve it.'

City Administrator Ed Henschel is working with the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to determine the exact investment dollars required to properly maintain these areas. Henschel said it will be determined within a week.

Overall, Scrima said taxes shouldn't increase in 2014.

'With the trajectory that was set by vetoing the budget for 2011 and 2012, and the changes in Madison which took effect for us in 2013, Waukesha taxpaying families can expect an overall flat budget for 2014 with the same and better levels of service,' he said.

The City of Waukesha's Executive Budget is scheduled to be released soon and the Finance Committee will review the General Government Budget, Special Revenue Funds and Internal Service Funds during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

The Finance Committee will meet throughout the month to review the various department budgets before it is brought to the Common Council in November for final adoption.