Minutes from the November 12, 2007

Meeting of Martin Drive Neighborhood Association

Our meeting saw a large increase in the number of participants which was a major reason for moving the meeting to the Washington Park Senior Center.  We also had outstanding responses from our elected officials who attended.

Alderman Michael Murphy addressed the group reminding us that the city budget was passed with a 3.3% increase.  In the area of safety, the budget placed civilians doing the desk work of police officers to allow the sworn officers access to the neighborhoods of the city. There will be 80 new officers replacing the retirees.  Milwaukee does have approximately 2000 police officers. The Housing Trust Fund received 18 applications for new housing.  The work of this group is to provide good quality housing for the poor and those most in need of governmental support.  The results of the survey provided by the alderman found neighbors interested in sustainable boulevards which would use biennials to cut the cost of replacing the annuals each year.  Work on Washington Blvd. would begin in 2008 making the street space one foot less on each side to help slow the traffic in this residential neighborhood.

Chairman of the MPS school board, Peter Blewett, met the questions provided by the neighbors concerning an IT report that would be shown on Channel 4 that evening.  Board members are allowed one appropriate trip per year.  A music teacher went to a New York conference which resulted in her MPS school receiving $96,000 worth of free musical instruments.  Decentralized schools provide the principals and staff the opportunity to choose the best ways for each school to use the money provided.  70% of MPS students graduate.  The state only provides 28% of the cost of special education.  We are well aware that the Federal government does not financially support the cost of No Child Left Behind.  Mr. Blewett urged us to contact our legislators to support our schools.  In particular, we need to contact our elected officials concerning bill S299 a redress of the tax levy, and S27 a reworking of the formula for providing tax money for schools, before July, 2008.  Vouchers are provided based on the number of students in the city divided into the property value of a particular district.  The Wisconsin Association of School Board members are trying to find an alternative to the property tax.  Very large corporations pay no taxes due to exemptions while the property owners and small businesses pick up the weight of the taxes needed to support the budget.  All exemptions need to be published to develop transparent budget.

Lee Holloway, executive of the county board, reminded us that it has been six years since the pension scandal broke.  Since that time, we have experienced a loss of a tax base due to loss of businesses.  The 2008 budget was accepted with concern for the people who need help with mental health issues, alcohol and drug abuse.  Mr. Holloway was reminded by his constituents of the need to properly care for the parks as well as the transit system.  Mr. Holloway reminded us that he supported the KRM transit system idea and the 1% sales tax so that people using the county attributes would help pay for them.  There is $91,000,000 in federal money waiting for us to implement a progressive bus system.

Pat Mueller brought the photos w/foam frames for the families of the children who had gone trick or treating on Oct. 26th.  Many people expressed their gratitude for a well run, fun evening for the children and families.  Thanks to the committee and volunteers.

Making Connections recognized Pat Mueller and Sharon Williams for their more than 50 hours of volunteer time for that organization.  We know they have given more time to our Martin Drive Neighborhood Association as well.  Congratulations to both of you.

In answer to the final question of the meeting, "What is the best part of living in the MDN?"  Several neighbors responded access to a great park, quality neighbors, and feeling of general well-being.

After the meeting was adjourned, it was decided we would meet on Monday, December 10th, at 6:30 at 1219 N. 45th to go caroling. More information will be coming.  We are hoping to have lots of people join this fun activity.  Write it on your calendar.  Thanks to all the people who helped to put the room back in order before leaving.


Submitted by Maggie B.

November 17, 2007