Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Official Seal of the City of Milwaukee.png
General information
Tom Barrett.jpg
Mayor:Tom Barrett
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2012
Next mayoral election:2016
Last city council election:2012
Next city council election:2016
City council seats:15
2014 FY Budget:$590 million
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:599,164
Gender:51.8% Female
Race:White 44.8%
African American 40.0%
Asian 3.5%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 0.8%
Two or More 3.4%
Ethnicity:Hispanic or Latino 17.3%
Median household income:$35,823
High school graduation rate:80.8%
College graduation rate:21.7%
Related Milwaukee offices
Wisconsin Congressional Delegation
Wisconsin State Legislature
Wisconsin state executive offices
Milwaukee is a city located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. As of 2013, its population was 599,164.[1]

City government

See also: Mayor-council government

The city of Milwaukee utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.


The mayor serves as the city's chief executive. He or she is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels.[2] Tom Barrett is the current Mayor of Milwaukee.[3]

City council

The Milwaukee Common Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[4]


Milwaukee's city council has fifteen members. Each member is elected by one of the city's fifteen districts.[5] For a full list of Milwaukee's city council members, see here.

Council committees

The Milwaukee City Council features eight standing committees, which focus on individual policy and legislative issues. Generally, the drafting of city legislation begins with the committees.[6]

For a list of Milwaukee's committees and committee members, see here.


Milwaukee's adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2014 was $590 million.[7]

Contact information

City Hall
200 E. Wells Street
Room 201
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: (414) 286-2489

To contact individual council members, see here (timed out).

Ballot measures

See also: Milwaukee County, Wisconsin ballot measures

The city of Milwaukee is in Milwaukee County. A list of ballot measures in Milwaukee County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Wisconsin

Milwaukee's initiative process follows state law.


As of September 2014, up-to-date information on Milwaukee's federal lobbying related expenses is unavailable.

Public pensions

See also: Wisconsin public pensions and Milwaukee employee salaries

According to a 2010 report published at Northwestern University, Milwaukee is one of the ten municipalities with the largest amount of unfunded pension liabilities. Nationwide there is $574 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for local pension plans, and this is in addition to the $3 trillion in debt facing state-sponsored pension plans.[8] The report states that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.[8]

(number of plans)
Liabilities, Stated Basis, June ’09 ($B) Liabilities (ABO), Treasury Rate Net Pension Assets ($B) Unfunded Liability ($B) Unfunded Liability / Revenue Unfunded Liability per Household ($)
Milwaukee (1) 4.4 6.7 3.3 3.4 687% 14,853

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Wisconsin city websites
Budget Y
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Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Lobbying P
Public Records
Local Taxes

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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 14 years.[9]
  • Elected officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[10][11]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 15 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 10 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting video or podcasts are available.[12]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[13]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
  • Public records[14]
    • The public information officer is identified. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A central public records site gives access to most common records.
    • Public records requests are handled by each department independently. Contact information for each department head is given.
  • Taxes[15]
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[16]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[17]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[18]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[19]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2000 are available.[20]
  • Lobbying
    • The city provides a list of licensed lobbyists and how much was spent on lobbying.[21]

The bad

  • The city's checkbook register is not posted.
  • Lobbying

See also

External link


  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on September 15, 2014
  2. Milwaukee City Charter, Sec. 3.01, accessed on September 15, 2014
  3. City of Milwaukee, "Office of the Mayor," accessed on September 15, 2014 (timed out)
  4. Milwaukee City Charter, Sec. 4.05-34, accessed on September 15, 2014
  5. City of Milwaukee, "City Council," accessed on September 15, 2014 (timed out)
  6. City of Milwaukee, "Milwaukee City Council Committees, 2013-14," accessed on August 29, 2014
  7. City of Milwaukee, "2014 Budget-in-Brief," accessed on September 15, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 MacIver Institute, "City of Milwaukee Pension a Ticking Time Bomb According to Northwestern Study," Oct. 12, 2010
  9. City of Milwaukee, "Budget Documents," accessed on November 29, 2012
  10. City of Milwaukee, "Council Members," accessed on December 4, 2012
  11. City of Milwaukee, "Office of the Mayor," accessed on November 29, 2012
  12. City of Milwaukee, "Calendar," accessed on November 29, 2012
  13. City of Milwaukee, WI, "Department Directory," accessed on November 29, 2012
  14. City of Milwaukee, "Public Records," accessed on November 29, 2012
  15. City of Milwaukee, "Treasurer," accessed on November 29, 2012
  16. City of Milwaukee, "Zoning Code," accessed on November 29, 2012
  17. City of Milwaukee, "Planning and Permits," accessed on November 29, 2012
  18. City of Milwaukee, "Bid Information," accessed on November 29, 2012
  19. City of Milwaukee, "Purchasing," accessed on November 29, 2012
  20. City of Milwaukee, "Office of the Comptroller," accessed on November 29, 2012
  21. City of Milwaukee, "Lobbying," accessed on November 29, 2012