Basic Services Highlight Mayor's Capital Budget Proposal
Wed, 09/06/2006 - 3:09am
Madison – Basic services are the theme of the 2007 Executive Capital Budget unveiled today by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. The capital budget funds the City’s bricks and mortar investments for 2007 and includes an outline for projects in the succeeding five years. The operating budget, which funds items such as City programs and personnel, will be introduced on October 3.
The mayor’s capital budget proposal includes funding for accelerated street repair and water main replacement, a new program to beautify city parks and medians, expansion of the successful automated recycling program to include a similar system for trash collection, the second new fire station in four years and other key investments. Overall, the budget includes $56.3 million in new General Obligation – supported borrowing.
“This is a fiscally-responsible budget proposal that makes important investments in Madison’s future,” said Cieslewicz. “It continues my commitment to fund key basic services like public safety, enhances our community’s quality of life and does so at a price we can afford.”
In assembling his capital budget proposal, the mayor removed $31.7 million in agency requests. “While many of these proposals had merit, we need to live within our means,” said Cieslewicz. “It is also extremely important that the City maintain its AAA bond ratings, which saves taxpayers money by allowing us to borrow at the lowest possible interest rate.”
Key initiatives in the mayor’s capital budget proposal include:
* Public Safety: Continuing the mayor’s long-term commitment to public safety, the budget includes funding for a new far west side fire station in 2008. Last year the City opened its first new additional fire station in 25 years, and just last week opened the new East District Police Station.
* Street Repair and Transportation: The mayor’s budget adds $2.5 million per year for accelerated repairs on major arterial streets. It also includes over $8.4 million for reconstructing and maintaining City streets, and $900,000 to upgrade the safety of a number of Madison railroad crossings. The budget builds Madison’s nationally recognized bicycle transportation network, with support in 2007 and 2008 for the Capital City Trail, Sherman Flyer and Military Ridge Trail Extension projects.
* Water Utility: This budget steps up construction and replacement of water mains with a 188% increase in funding, from $3.3 million in 2006 to $9.5 million in 2007. It also includes funding for a $2.4 million filter for well #29 which has experienced high levels of manganese.
* Innovation and Energy Efficiency: The budget includes funding for an automated trash collection system, similar to the highly successful automated recycling program, which produced an estimated $400,000 in savings and a 40% increase in recycling in its first year. Both systems are part of the mayor’s Taxpayer Relief through Innovative Measures (TRIM) program. TRIM is designed to make City government more efficient, so as Madison continues to grow, we can continue to provide quality services at a price taxpayers can afford.
The budget also includes $100,000 resources to improve the energy efficiency of city government. One such initiative for 2007 will be the installation of solar hot water heaters at Madison fire stations. Better energy efficiency saves the City money by lowering our fuel costs, reduces our contribution to global climate change and lessens our reliance on foreign sources of energy.
* Quality of Life: The mayor’s capital budget makes continued, prudent investments to enhance Madison’s quality of life. Building on the success of the Goodman Pool, it includes the City share of funding for the Warner Park pool for 2010, contingent upon the securing of a significant lead gift. It also includes funding for City libraries, including a new Sequoya Branch library in 2007; a new branch at Villager Mall in 2008; and the City’s share of a new Central Library in 2009. The budget also includes $650,000 in 2008 and 2009 for the redevelopment of the Ironworks facility for the Atwood Community Center.
This capital budget continues to clear the backlog of park construction for Madison’s newest neighborhoods. The mayor funded the construction of 15 new parks in his first three capital budgets. In this year’s budget, he includes funding for a major new park on Madison’s east side at Door Creek, to complement Elver Park on the City’s west side. The mayor’s budget keeps the commitment he made to undertake the $1.3 million renovation of Breese Stevens Field in 2007. The mayor’s capital budget also includes a number of investments to enhance the natural beauty of our community, including an additional $53,000 in tree plantings and a new $50,000 initiative for native plantings in parks and medians.
The mayor’s 2007 capital budget proposal will be formally introduced to the Common Council tonight, which will review it this fall. Final action will come in mid-November. Along with other budget-related materials, it can be found online at http://www.cityofmadison.com/comp/budgetindex.htm.
- George Twigg, 608-266-4611