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
2016 Budget Update
Late last night, the Council passed the budget for 2016. Here are some high (and low)lights contained in the document.
Pinney Library Back on Track for 2016: Construction of a new Pinney Library is back on track for 2016. This means we can realistically expect to open the new library in 2017. The city will share construction costs of the basic structure with Rudebusch Co. And then the city will take it from there.
In addition to providing a new library that will be about twice as large as the current space, this will also spur the overall Royster Corners development. Much of the credit for getting the library back on track is due to the strong opposition to the delay proposed by the Mayor and the support voiced by every neighborhood organization and dozens of individuals who took the time to write to Council members and speak out at meetings. It worked!
Public Market, Midtown Police Station, etc.: The Council also approved $5.25 million for construction of a Public Market on First St. and Johnson. The overall cost of the market is at least $14 million. I supported an amendment requiring the city to raise most of the money from other sources (state, federal government, foundations, etc.) before we spend a dollar.
Other major expenditures are $21 million to construct a new city garage for the city's 1400 vehicles including fire trucks and patrol cars. The garage is currently at First and Johnson and will be built at the closed Cub Foods on Nakoosa Trail (next to Walmart). The city will also start hiring new senior police staff for a newly constructed Midtown Police Station in the near Westside. The new initial new hires will work at the $15 million new station that will take some of the workload off of the over-stretched West Police station. This project will not be completed until 2019.
Back to Judge Doyle Square: The Council approved the Mayor's proposal to add $35 million in the budget for the development of the downtown space. This is despite the fact that we have no proposals. Nonetheless, we are now putting that money on the table and asking developers if they would like to borrow it and take it off their taxes. (I said that this is a lousy way to negotiate and that instead we should sell the land for $15 million.) Last summer, when we negotiated with Dunn and Exact Sciences, we offered $47 million and that's exactly what they demanded until the very end.
Taxes: The bottom line is that city taxes will increase by 3.5% or about $70 for each home. This is slightly above the rate of inflation. Another way to calculate it is to multiply each thousand dollar of the value of your home by $9.50. For example, the new city tax on a $200,000 home would be $1900.
On that note, have a good day.
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