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Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog


The Family Budget

November 12, 2009 7:26 PM

I thought they bought too much stuff at the grocery store and turned the heat up too high. They thought I blew too much money on a plasma TV and new golf clubs (but, hey, that new driver is sweet!). But in the end there was compromise all around and the City Council passed the 2010 budget early this morning.

I had four primary goals in this budget: build a new Central Library, advance the Edgewater Hotel project, don't dip into our long term cash balance, and keep the increase in taxes on the average house below 4%. We achieved three of those four goals and taxes on the average house will go up only slightly above 4%.

I know that not every alder who voted for the budget loved everything about it. Certainly, there were some misgivings about the new Central Library and the Edgewater and going to every-other-week large item pickup makes some nervous. For my part, I felt the Council should have trimmed more positions from city government and that the addition of more funding for community service nonprofits when none of them asked for it and when there was no plan for use of the money was a mistake.

So we had some spirited discussions about those and other issues, but in the end the budget passed on a voice vote. I didn't agree with everything the Council added, but in the last analysis it's a good budget and I'll sign it later this week.

When I introduced my budget earlier this fall it was my budget. When the Council passed it last night it became our budget. And we got there together, on time and with little acrimony. That's a credit to this Council and especially to the Council leadership team they selected in Tim Bruer and Mark Clear. Now, if they'd just cut out the processed foods and turn the thermostat down…


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