18.6.06

MUNICIPALITIES FACE MARKET TESTS, TOO. Milwaukee County officials are contemplating numerous economy measures, including the closure of most of the county park system's swimming pools.
While closing 43 pools is not in the cards, the county can greatly collapse the number of pools and try to replace some in the next five to 10 years, [Milwaukee County Executive Scott] Walker said. He said the county is saturated with pools if you include private, high school and hotel/motel pools. Pools that don't at least come close to breaking even by charging admission should not be funded by the county, he said. Only one county water facility, Cool Waters, currently pays for itself.
Within the county, some municipalities are doing less well on their market tests.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, reacting to the offer, said Walker's plan could leave pools in the city high and dry while some wealthier suburban municipalities could afford to keep theirs open.

The city is concentrating its dwindling resources on boosting police funding, Barrett said, and can't afford to take over the county function.

"Is the county executive asking me to raise taxes so that that he can say he's opposed to raising taxes?" Barrett said.

Unrest and violence increase on hot days, making city pools a crucial safety tool, Barrett said. Of the 43 pools slated to close, 33 are in Milwaukee.

Are the pools a safety tool, or a different venue to go thuggin' on a scorcher? Here's another thesis idea: what is the marginal productivity of police funding? Is it possible for a city to become so ungovernable that past some point additional policing cannot reverse the trend?

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