Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Ahrens’ Updates
District 15 updates on key local and city issues:
Pinney Library: As you may know, the re-location of the Pinney Library has been postponed until 2016. This means that the planning and design of the new library will take place in 2015. While this is not optimal, I think there may be some positive aspects to the postponement.
First, it gives the community more time to raise funds for its construction. (About 80%+ will be paid by the City but the community will have to raise funds as well.) Second, we will get a better idea of how the library should be designed when we know the other function and design of the other adjacent buildings. Third, although the City opened the Central library last month, it is still raising funds for it. A new library is being built in the southwest section of the city this year. We may need a year-off in new library construction. Fourth, I was wrong about our current lease. The city has the option of renewing it on a year-to-year basis on terms that are reasonable.
The other good news is that I think there is a general consensus that Pinney should be re-located to Royster Corners. It keeps the library in the same neighborhood while at the same time helps make Royster a more interesting and vital part of the community.
City Budget: I am a new member of the City Council but I've been a keen observer of city policy and budget for some time. The most striking thing about this city budget is how little there is in it that is "new and different." For the most part, the budget simply continues through this year what the city did last year. Because there have been cost increases in major expenses such as health insurance and energy the "cost to continue" of city operations rises. There are also capital expenses such as new police cars, 10 new buses, building and road repair that roll up to substantial costs. As a result, the levy would increase by about $28 on a house valued at $200,000.
This is the Mayor's description of the operating budget: http://www.cityofmadison.com/finance/documents/2014OpBud/MessageMayorOperExec.pdf
A few items that are of interest concern future expenditures. For example, the budget includes $2 million to plan and design a new parking structure downtown. This $30-40 million parking garage would support a new city-sponsored hotel and office complex (that would be called the Judge Doyle Square). I have substantial concerns about the need for the garage and hotel as well as questions concerning whether it is appropriate for the city to compete with existing hotels and offices. A committee is studying various options for the city but unfortunately the option of doing nothing does not appear to be seriously considered. I look forward to hearing your opinion on this proposed project that will have a great impact on the city's future.
Public Meeting on Royster Corners Project: There will be a public information meeting on the Royster Corners Project on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd at 7 PM at Schenk School. The developers and city staff will discuss the project with the community. There will also be a brief presentation on the proposed changes on Cottage Grove Road adjacent to the Royster Project. Hope to see you there.
• Last brush pick-up begins on Monday, September 30th. Streets Dept. hopes to complete the brush pick-up by the time leaf pick-up starts.
• Need help with enrolling for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act? There will be assistance on November 5 from 2 PM-5 PM Enrollment assistance at Pinney Library. There will also be assistance every Thursday, from 1-5 PM at the Job Service Office on Aberg Ave.
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 334 1156.
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