(The Center Square) – Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson on Thursday released an open letter to Gov. Tony Evers demanding more federal stimulus money.
“Wisconsin residents in Milwaukee County, particularly residents of color, are being hit the hardest by this crisis. Now, more than ever, they need the critical services that the County provides on behalf of the state – services that cost more money than the County has," the letter states.
Crowley has previously said the coronavirus could cost Milwaukee County as much as $450 million. That's both direct costs and the cost of the coronavirus-related economic slowdown.
He said at the time Milwaukee County doesn't have the money to cover those costs.
On Thursday, Crowley and Nicholson said without state and federal help they won't have the money to cover other services as well.
“Without adequate and direct funding, Milwaukee County will not be able to meet the increasing needs of our residents resulting from COVID-19. And our ability to provide critical services to our community’s most vulnerable residents – including mental health care, housing resources, disabilities services and services for our senior citizens – will be significantly impacted," the two wrote.
Crowley said last week that Milwaukee County has furloughed about 700 of its nearly 4,000 employees because of the coronavirus.
The biggest issue for Crowley and Nicholson seems to be federal stimulus money they say should be going to the county.
"The federal CARES Act originally dedicated $165 million in coronavirus relief funds directly to Milwaukee County to support essential services," their latter states. "Instead, due to a technicality, $103 million of those funds were re-routed to the State of Wisconsin."
Gov. Tony Evers has been on a stimulus spending spree this week. On Monday he announced a $75 million small business assistance program. On Tuesday, he announced a $1 billion program to expand coronavirus testing. On Wednesday the governor announced a $25 million rental assistance program. On Thursday, Evers announced a $50 million farm aid package and a $15 million plan to support Wisconsin's food banks. That's more than half of the state $2 billion in CARES Act money.