Mayor maintains Library, Metro services

Friday, October 3, 2008 - 3:46am

Mayor's Budget Sustains Basic Service Priorities

In keeping with his commitment to maintain basic city services even in a very tough budget year, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced his plans to keep all Madison libraries open and fully staffed, and to maintain and even expand Metro bus service through a 50 cent fare increase in his 2009 budget.

"Libraries and Metro Transit are both vital basic services for Madison residents, and are both priorities in my budget," Mayor Cieslewicz said. "My budget takes steps to protect the long-term stability of both."

In 2007, there were 2.2 million visits to Madison's libraries - more than ever before. In 2008, the number of visits is on pace to be even more.

"The vast contribution of Madison libraries to our communities, families and children is clear," Mayor Cieslewicz told the Library Board at its Wednesday meeting. "That's why I'm happy to submit a budget that maintains our high level of service."

Cieslewicz said he was especially pleased that the Monroe Street library would remain open under his budget proposal after talk this summer of the potential need to close the near west side branch.

Cieslewicz said that while increasing bus fares by 50 cents was one of the toughest decisions he had to make in his 2009 budget, he felt it was necessary to ensure the future strength of the bus system.

"An incredible rise in fuel costs has taken its toll on Metro's budget. A 25-cent increase would have been necessary just to maintain current service levels," Cieslewicz said. "The additional 25 cents will allow Metro to expand services, increase security at transfer points, enhance ridership through increased marketing, double programs that help low-income riders afford bus fares, and create a reserve to guard against future fuel increases.

"My 2009 budget continues to invest in libraries and the transit system - two of our most vital basic services, that should be maintained even in the toughest of financial times," Cieslewicz said.

Cieslewicz will introduce his complete budget proposal to the Common Council on Tuesday. The Council is scheduled to vote on it the week of November 11th.

  • Rachel Strauch-Nelson, 266-4611