Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 5:37am
Madison - A wide range of initiatives to promote justice, support families and build Madison's economy were approved at last night's Common Council meeting, according to Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.
"These proposals to fight housing discrimination, support child care providers, support minority-owned businesses and much more passed without controversy or rancor, which is as it should be," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "Too often, City government makes progress on important issues but that news gets lost in the one or two hot topics that generate controversy at a Council meeting. Last night's Council meeting was actually a particularly strong example of that, with at least a half dozen very significant initiatives passing without a lot of attention."
Highlights from last night's Council action include:
• Fair Housing Testing: Contracts were awarded for $30,000 in the Department of Civil Rights' operating budget for fair housing testing. This initiative provides for a way to monitor compliance with fair housing and anti-discrimination laws.
• Building Trades apprenticeship program: Centro Hispano was named as the fiscal agent for the Building Trades Council apprenticeship program, which is receiving $75,000 from the City this year. This is a program to recruit lower-income City residents and help them prepare to qualify for various building trade apprenticeship programs. This program will help our poorest residents, particularly in Allied Drive, to compete for good paying, family supporting jobs.
• African American Black Business Association (AABBA) business survey: The Nehemiah Corporation was named as the fiscal agent for AABBA's pilot business development program to survey black-owned business, provide technical assistance and referrals to financing sources. The City provided $15,000 for this program in its 2007 budget.
• New headquarters for the Urban League: The Council approved a resolution providing up to $150,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the Urban League of Greater Madison. The funds would be used for land acquisition, construction, and related development costs of a building to house the organization and its Center for Economic Development.
• Affordable Housing on Allied Drive: This resolution provides up to $121,000 in HOME match funds to Project Home to help refinance its mortgage on its Prairie Crossing location. Prairie Crossing provides some of the most affordable and quality housing in Allied Drive, contributing to the revitalization of that neighborhood.
• Support for Childcare Providers: This initiative provides $20,000 in additional funding to increase the Childcare Stabilization Fund to $40,000. This action was necessary due to changes at the State level that jeopardize the ability of childcare centers to serve low-income families. In 2006 the Stabilization Fund helped keep 247 families in care that would have otherwise been disenrolled due to bad debt. These additional funds will help low-income children stay in high quality childcare centers.
- George Twigg(608) 266-4611