WAUKESHA - Top
Waukesha County officials next week will consider crafting a
resolution opposing a regional tax on the county for a new ports
and entertainment arena, County Board Chairman Paul Decker
officials have for months voiced their disdain over any new
regional tax to finance the potential replacement or
retrofitting of the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
formal talks will begin on creating and presenting such a
resolution to the full County Board, possibly by later this
month. Discussions will be held by the board’s powerful
Executive Committee. Decker is the committee’s chairman.
resolution has been introduced by County Board Supervisor
“We want it
completely off the table,” Decker said of the consideration of a
new regional tax. “County Executive Dan Vrakas and I have both
stated our opposition to the tax. This resolution lets the state
Legislature know the feeling of the County Board about the tax.”
he’s sure that county supervisors oppose the tax, and the board
will easily approve the resolution.
What has drawn
concern is the formation of a new regional task force with the
charge of examining the need for a new Milwaukee arena. The task
force also will discuss ways to finance cultural and
expressed fear that a new regional tax, like the controversial
one used to build Miller Park, will be again used to pay for a
multipurpose downtown Milwaukee arena.
information has circulated that the stadium tax can be extended
to pay for the arena.
head of the Miller Park board, told the County Board last summer
that the stadium tax can only be used for Miler Park debt
retirement and maintenance. Duckett said he expects the 0.1
percent stadium tax could be retired as early as 2018.
A new tax
district must be approved by state lawmakers, and the Waukesha
County resolution, if approved, would encourage them to not
allow the creation of a new district, Decker said. The Racine
County and Ozaukee County Boards have already passed resolutions
opposed to a new regional tax.
The arena and
financing mechanisms for cultural and entertainment venues are
being explored by the Regional Cultural Entertainment Capital
Needs Task Force, a group of advisers from southeast Wisconsin.
Waukesha County has at least two representatives on the task
meeting will be Dec. 13th at the Zoofari Conference Center,
10001 W. Bluemound Road, from noon to 2 p.m. The meeting will be
open to the public.
president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce,
helped create the task force.
“Our hope is
that the group would spend the next year or so to come up with
some recommendations,” Sheehy said. “There’s no proposal to do
anything now. The tax force members should air all of their
“I come at it
with the belief that Metropolitan Milwaukee would become a much
more economically prosperous region if we can address these
Decker said he
and Vrakas want “data-driven information” that proves the entire
region will benefit from a new downtown Milwaukee arena.
“We know it
will benefit downtown,” Decker said. “What we want to know is
what will it do for us? What’s the payback? That’s what we need
that Decker had valid questions that should be answered by the
great questions, and I think he’s right and that information
needs to be put on the table so we can make decisions.” Sheehy
said. “He’s absolutely right. There needs to be a good case
made if - and I’m saying if - there is going to be a regional