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
September 2017 District Update
It's kind of jarring how the slow rhythm of summer's regular fare of street construction, back-to-back weekend festivals and mosquitoes quickly gives way to going back to school, doing what you meant to do all summer and for city government-types, the two months of budget discussions.
While there are no big surprises related to any of these annual events, there are decisions to be made. Some are important, others not so much. I won't get into problems such as the heavy mosquito infestation in the Carpenter-Ridgeway neighborhood (which is about 10x the city average) but these are some of the items that will be coming up in September.
The Budget: Many folks think that the Council determines the budget. Yes, we vote to approve it in November and we have many meetings to discuss it but in fact, we pretty much approve what the Mayor sends us.
The Mayor and his staff develop the budget with virtually no input from the Council. In early September two budgets are publicly released- one for building projects (the Capital budget) and one for operations (the Operating budget). The Finance Committee that reviews the Mayor's budget is chaired by the Mayor. All of the members, with a single exception, are appointed by the Mayor. When that committee approves the budget it goes to the Council where the meeting is also chaired by the Mayor. Questions about the budget are answered by the staff appointed by the Mayor. Do you get the picture?
Generally, the $250 million operating budget is passed with perhaps a modification of 1% or less by the Council. It is likely that this year, as in years past, the major issue will be whether the number of police officers should be increased. The Mayor opposes any increase and thus, a majority of the Council must support an amendment.
I'll get straight to the point: I support an increase in the number of police officers.
My view is that we either hire more police or we pay the existing force a tremendous amount of overtime- which is expensive and inefficient (people are not as effective in their 12th hour of work).
Given the spate of gun shots, homicides, drug overdoses and general mayhem, more sworn officers are needed to "carry the load." There are too many nights when the police are able to respond only to critical calls. I have heard from many constituents that this is not an acceptable level of service.
I have no illusions that adding 15 officers (at a cost of more than $1.5 million/yr) will make a discernible difference in police services or the incidence of violent crime. The addition of 15 officers will mean about one more officer per shift in each District. But it is a start to providing services at the level that is expected by residents.
Budget Listening Session: There's more to the budget than law enforcement. We will probably spend about $300 million on capital projects- mostly roads but also a few building projects.
What do you think? If you'd like to discuss your concerns and priorities, I am holding a Budget Listening Session on Saturday, September 30th, 10 AM-Noon at the Pinney Library Community Room. Let me and your neighbors know your thoughts.
Monona Golf Course: There's another meeting of the Golf Sub-committee (of the Parks Commission) tomorrow night, Tuesday, August 28th at 6:30 PM at the Olbrich Gardens atrium. The public will have an opportunity to share their views on the options available to address the deficits of the Golf Fund. I expect the committee members to reach a conclusion and make recommendations to the Parks Commission. This situation has worsened over the last few years with little action taken. The 2016 operating deficit in the Fund is $394,000 and has run deficits in nine of the last ten years.
Olbrich- Walters St. Park House: The bathroom and surrounding area will be rebuilt next year. We'll have a meeting to get your ideas on design, materials, and placement with the architect for the Parks Dept. The meeting will be at Schenk School on Thursday, Sept. 21st at 6:30 PM.
What Does a Renewable (Energy) Madison Mean to You?
Meet with the consultants hired by the city to design a "renewable" future for Madison. They'll discuss the process for creating this plan and some possible outcomes. Public participation is welcomed.
September 27, 2017
6 - 8 pm
Conference Room 302
No Refuse Collection Next Monday: There will be no refuse or recycling collection on Monday, September 4 for Labor Day. The drop-off sites will also be closed on September 4.
Madison residents who normally have their refuse and recycling collected on Mondays should instead place their carts at the curb for collection by 7 AM on Tuesday, September 5th. Refuse and recycling for the Tuesday pickup will also be collected on September 5.
Since the Streets Division will be collecting refuse and recycling from both the Monday and Tuesday districts on September 5, residents should have their collection carts curbside prior to 7 AM on that day.
The City of Madison drop-off sites will be open the following hours:
September 2, Saturday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
September 3, Sunday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
September 4, Monday Close
September 5, Tuesday 8:30am until 8:00pm
The temporary drop-off site on the east side is located at 4141 Nakoosa Trail, which is the former Cub Foods location. The yard waste only site at 402 South Point Rd will also be open as noted above.
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 334-1156 if you have questions or concerns regarding city policies or services.
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