Battle over Milwaukee's residency rules is being fought in Madison

Lacey Crisp

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Battle over Milwaukee's residency rules is being fought in Madison

CREATED Apr. 2, 2013

MILWAUKEE - Should teachers, firefighters and police officers who work in Milwaukee be forced to live in the city? There's a battle brewing to get rid of residency rules.

State lawmakers in Madison will decide if city of Milwaukee employees have to live within the city limits to keep their jobs, or if they can live where they want.

One Milwaukee alderman argues there would be a mass exodus if the residency requirement was lifted, but a real estate agent says that's not likely.

"This would be the type of house that a city employee or teacher, police officer or firefighter may be interested in," said realtor Chris Slinker.

Slinker says some city employees have already contacted him just in case the residency requirement is lifted.

“They are going to look along the 94 corridor because they'll still be working in the city,” he said. “They'll be looking along the 94 and 43 corridor.”

Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy walked the halls of the capitol Tuesday asking lawmakers to leave the residency requirement as it is.

“It doesn't create any jobs, so why is it part of the budget bill?” Murphy asked.

The alderman admits the taxes in the suburbs are lower than that in the city.

“City employees may want to argue that they don't want to pay the higher taxes, but those taxes pay their salaries,” he said.

Murphy also argues that's why it's a term of employment. He says lifting the residency requirement would have a big economic impact on the city.

“It would have a major economic impact on the city of Milwaukee,” he said. “We estimate approximately 50 percent of the 7000 employees who live in the city proper would leave within 10 years.”

But that's where Slinker disagrees.

“There are still some people who can't sell because the price is below their mortgage value,” he explained.

The Joint Finance Committee is holding a budget meeting in Greendale on Thursday to hear from the public, and residency requirement is likely to be one of the hot topics.

 

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