Urban Issues


State Senator Spencer Coggs, Milwaukee’s new city treasurer, wants to streamline operations by allowing residents to pay taxes at various neighborhood sites and help people become more educated in budgeting and the reason for taxes.

Coggs dismisses being the first African American treasurer by saying:

“It’s important to be first, but also not to be the last African American city treasurer.”

With this in mind Coggs hopes to make a mark for himself through innovation.

Although the city has a tax collection rate of 97 percent, Coggs wants to make paying taxes easier. He said most property owners pay taxes at the end of the year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

He would eliminate the long lines by setting up neighborhood locations where people could pay their taxes.

“I want to make tax processing in citizen’s neighborhoods and get them more comfortable with paying taxes,” Coggs stated.

            He also stated that, “It troubles me the amount of foreclosures we have,” so he would like to educate people on how to budget and pay their taxes. He hopes this will make paying taxes less stressful and decrease the number of abandoned homes.

Coggs will give up his state senate seat in November, but his legislative experience helps him in his city job, because aldermen know him and recognize his leadership. This lead to quick approval of some policies Coggs instituted to update treasury office procedures and manuals.

Coggs acknowledged that holding down two elective positions was difficult.

“I have to take three hours out of each day to travel from Madison to Milwaukee. I want to utilize my time and give something back to the city,” said Coggs.

“My schedule is very, very hectic,” stated Coggs.

But Coggs said he decided to keep his state position, because the senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans and he wanted to keep it that way.

Coggs said the only pressure he feels in the treasurer’s office is the pressure he puts on himself to be a good treasurer. | UV


Coggs would increase tax payment sites| Madelynn Miller

“Its important to be first, but also not to be the last African American city treasurer.” ~ Coggs