Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 11:42am
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz joined community service providers, Public Health Madison Dane County and neighborhood leaders at the Kennedy Heights Community Center to outline his 2011 operating budget proposal.
"We continue to weather the challenging economic climate with steadiness and consistency," Mayor Cieslewicz said. "My budget makes no major cuts to basic services and invests in the strength and health of our neighborhoods."
Facing an increase in city employee health insurance benefits of $2.5 million, an increase in debt service of $1.9 million and historically low revenue projections in investment income, room tax and building permits, the mayor's budget increased the levy by 2.9% and taxes on the average home by 4.8%.
"In addition to maintaining the basics, we'll make smart, targeted investments in maintaining strong neighborhoods and in improving those that are challenged," Mayor Cieslewicz said. "Making these smart investments in the short-term prevents more expensive fixes in the long-run for neighborhoods that have fallen too far."
Recognizing the challenges facing our most vulnerable residents in this economic climate, the mayor's budget increases community service funding by $200,000 over the budget submitted by the agency. With that increase, city support for community services has increased 53% in the mayor's eight budgets.
The mayor's budget also includes:
• A community development grant writer position to leverage the potential for more private, state and federal grant funding.
• The expansion of an innovative program that improves neighborhoods by approaching crime as a systemic public health issue.
• The Madison Police Department's new crime prevention unit, committed to dealing with the relative handful of career criminals who might commit as much as 50% of the crime in our city.
• A continued commitment to create a double company to improve fire response times.
"This budget presents a reasonable balance between maintaining basic services and making targeted investments in our neighborhoods, while restraining overall spending and property tax increases," Mayor Cieslewicz said. "I hope the Common Council will join me in maintaining this balance by keeping taxes on the average home below 5%."
The Mayor's full operating budget is available online at http://www.cityofmadison.com/comp/budgetindex.htm. The Mayor's budget will now go to Common Council for review. The Council will debate and vote on the budget beginning on November 16.
- Rachel Strauch-Nelson608-266-4611