Mayor Praises Council Passage of Public Safety Proposals
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 4:45am
Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz praised tonight's passage of two city ordinances that will improve public safety in Madison. The Common Council voted to approve two proposals championed by Mayor Cieslewicz: the Alcohol License Density Plan and the Chronic Nuisance Abatement ordinance.
In addition, the Mayor introduced a $100,000 citywide public safety initiative to respond intensively this fall to public safety issues in a number of Madison neighborhoods. That proposal will return to the Council for final approval in October.
"I am very pleased that the Council has acted quickly to approve both of these public safety measures," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "I have attended four separate public safety listening sessions in recent weeks, and clearly heard the call for action. Neither of these proposals will solve all of our public safety challenges, but they are major steps in the right direction."
The Alcohol License Density Plan, under development for nearly a year, will address alcohol-related public safety issues in downtown Madison. Alcohol-related issues in the downtown area consume a significant share of Police Department resources every weekend, drawing those resources away from other neighborhoods that need them. The Density Plan will limit the opening of new bars and liquor stores and restrict the issuance of new liquor licenses to bona fide restaurants. The goal is to gradually reduce the density of bars in the area through attrition.
Tonight's passage of the Chronic Nuisance Abatement ordinance is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long process of drafting, consultations, revisions and discussion. It gives the City a powerful new tool to address problematic properties and landlords who threaten the safety and stability of Madison neighborhoods. The ordinance provides for a premises to be declared a "chronic nuisance" following a specified number of quality of life violations taking place at that location. Landlords of premises so designated are subject to a variety of potential penalties, including being billed by the City for the cost of law enforcement responses to their property.
Passage of these two initiatives are the latest steps Mayor Cieslewicz has pushed for to address public safety in Madison. He is currently developing his 2008 budget that will fund 30 new police officers - triple the number added last year and six times the historic average. He has also introduced a six-point Mayor's Public Safety Initiative that provides a broad-based, citywide blueprint for addressing the public safety issue.
The Mayor thanked Council President Mike Verveer and President Pro Tem Tim Bruer for their leadership on the Alcohol License Density Plan, and Chronic Nuisance Abatement ordinance, respectively.
- George Twigg, (608) 266-4611