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Alder Lauren Cnare

Alder Lauren Cnare

Home Address:
5218 Kevins Way
Madison , WI 53714

Phone: 608-235-9179
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Understanding the City's Budget

February 3, 2013 12:59 PM

While the City's Budget can seem awfully complex and perhaps even written in another language than one you use everyday, it really does have a critical impact on your life - in the real estate tax bill you just paid. The city's share of the bill you received in December is about one-third, and it covers a lot of services, supplies and equipment and people that take care of the city for us to enjoy.

It's been a constant message over the eight years I've served on the Council - "It's a tight budget year." 2005. "It's a tough budget year." 2006. "It's a terrible budget year." 2012. I don't know if there a single adjective that can describe 2013, but I do know it won't be a positive word. These words put me and muy colleagues on alert every August to focus on essential services, solving emerging problems and keeping things going at least "as is" without breaking the home budgets of taxpayers. 

Whether you're a budget wonk or a concerned tax payer, here's a memo from the City's Finance Director, David Schmiedicke, that carefully describes how the past affects the future, and how changes at other levels of government often affect cities. We, the taxpayers and the city, are the last ones holding the bag.

This memo outlines about "future obligations" or things that we've committed to do or buy.

Our fire staion number 13 is one of those knotty issues where we needed to do something - and that something requires spending a substantial amount of money - that has a big effect on future budgets.

The second item you may want to review is the adopted 2013 budget, which is available on-line. I don't recommend printing it because it's huge, but you can look up department and revenue sources to get a sense of how it comes in from sources and goes out for services, equipment and people.

If you'd ever like to sit down and talk about hte budget, I'd be happy to bring my copy and go through it with you.

With the continued bad economic news that affects families and cities, it's not too early to talk about hte budget - for 2014.

If you'd like to learn more about hte budget process - sort of a Madison City Budget 101, this portion of the website is great!




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