Friday, October 26, 2007 - 11:20am

Five alders have offered a combined 40 amendments to the City's Capital and Operating Budgets introduced by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

"Typically there isn't a lot of wiggle room for the Council to affect the overall budget that the Mayor puts together," said Common Council President Alder Mike Verveer (District 4). "The package of amendments represents an important adjustment to the budget that should make it more sustainable and more well-rounded in terms of supporting city priorities."

"The amendments my colleagues and I are offering put more money into child care, crime prevention programs, and other important initiatives," said Alder Satya Rhodes-Conway (District 12). "Just as importantly, we've offered ways to pay for these amendments so the net effect is actually a reduction in taxes and funding for effective programs."

On Monday, the Board of Estimates will debate amendments to the two budgets. Alders Verveer, Rhodes-Conway, Brenda Konkel (District 2), Robbie Webber (District 5) and Marsha Rummel (District 6) variously sponsored the amendments, including:

Capital Budget
• Eliminating funding for County Highway M expansion pending a cost-sharing agreement with Dane County;
• Pushing back by one year an expansion of Pleasant View Road on the far west side;
• Replacing the money removed in the Mayor's budget from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund; and
• Funding the 10% set-aside of TIF funding for affordable housing.

Operating Budget
• Adding a half-time information technology specialist to the Police Department;
• Eliminating the massive paper packets delivered to Council members;
• Conducting a market study for the Warner Park area;
• Ending the Fit City half-time position in favor of adding a half-time WIC specialist;
• Funding to fight gypsy moths;
• $20,000 for child care assistance to low-income families;
• Adding a half-time child care specialist;
• Funding for the Weed and Seed crime prevention programs;
• Funding for afterschool and summer programs targeting middle and high school children; and
• Providing a set of benchmarks for the Police Department to ensure public safety goals are met.

"Ensuring public safety doesn't start and end with the police department," said Rhodes-Conway. "Modest investments in our children now mean savings down the road as we keep kids out of the justice system."

"Housing and child care are huge costs for low-income families," noted Konkel. "By expanding our commitment to making these costs affordable, we can assist families in meeting their basic needs, add to the quality of life of the people who live in the City of Madison and strengthen our entire community."

Webber noted as well that, "By holding the line on just a couple of road expansions, we save taxpayers' money, support our city and have the chance to fund many modest, critical programs for children and families. The choice between pavement and people is an easy one."

"If these amendments are adopted, we'll move to a budget that's even more focused on public safety, helping families in need and supporting our neighborhoods," said Verveer.

  • Alder Satya Rhodes-Conway, District 12, 608.320.0254
  • Alder Mike Verveer, District 4, 608.576.4355