Skip to main content

District 1

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Image of Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Contact Information

Home Address:

1209 Dayflower Dr

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Harrington-McKinney’s Updates

Common Purpose: Shared Priorities

October 3, 2016 6:55 AM

To:  District 1 Constituents

From: Alder Harrington-McKinney

 I attended the National League of Cities (NLC), held here in Madison. Elected, appointed officials and city administrators from across the country met over three days discussing today's complex societal and community problems-from infrastructure to public safety to public health-requiring a collaborative, multi-sector effort. Core theme of the conference was that private sector, federal, state and local government and the nonprofit community must all work together to generate and implement creative and effective solutions.  The three-day program  brought together leaders and practitioners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to explore collaborative, multi-sector leadership. Valuable perspectives were gained on the different sectors and how working in collaboration was critical to address some of today's complex problems.

I share here two opinions from the robust discussions at last week's Board of Estimates meeting on the priorities for the City of Madison. I welcome your input into these conversations. 

Council President Verveer and Members of the Common Council:
On Monday night, the Board of Estimates decided to move up the Midtown Police District and Fire Station 14 projects.  As you know, the implications of these projects are not solely limited to the City borrowing to design and construct new facilities at a cost of over $16 million, but also involve significant operating costs at a time when we have few revenue options and on-going concerns about property taxes for businesses, families and seniors.
The Midtown Police District will require nearly $1 million in additional annual operating costs in 2018. 
Staffing and equipping Fire Station 14 will cost $1.2 million in 2018 and another $750,000 in 2019. 
These two projects together will require $2.2 million of tax levy in 2018.  Meeting these additional operating costs will mean fewer investments is n other critical programs that help achieve equity and economic growth in our City.  Using all of the City's levy limit authority, together with rising debt service for an expanding capital budget, the City taxes on a typical home could go up 5.5%, or by $133, in 2018, and the budget would still not be in balance.
Assuming our economy continues to grow and new construction value is added at the current rate of 2% annually, the levy limit for operating purposes could increase approximately $6 million.
Keeping our current operations going will cost $6 million, primarily for pay increases, wage equity, and fringe benefit costs. 
The operating costs for Midtown and Fire Station 14 create a $2.2 million deficit.  In addition, while we have been fortunate in the past few years with health insurance and pension costs – those positive trends could change, adding to budget pressures.
We have very few options besides the property tax.  Even short-term federal grants leave the City eventually paying the entire operating cost.
Public safety services are most definitely a priority – since 1999, public safety staffing has grown more than twice as fast the rest of City government. 
But we also plow snow, pick up garbage and recycling, clear leaves and brush, install street and traffic lights, ensure fair elections and safe dwellings, and invest in equity by paying to operate libraries, parks, neighborhood centers, clinics and buses. 
We cannot build both a police station and a fire station in a one- to two-year period and simply absorb it in the operating budget.  Other programs, aspirations, expectations and goals for our residents will have to be curtailed and set-aside.
While my 2017 executive operating budget adds 4 new police patrol officers by funding the former Education Resource Officers from the City tax levy, I did not provided operations funding for either the Midtown Station or Fire Station 14 in my 2017 executive operating budget.  According to the Police and Fire Departments, $500,000 is needed in 2017 to begin recruiting, hiring, training and equipping 34 new positions for these two new facilities (7 at Midtown and 27 at Fire Station 14).
Paul R. Soglin


Support for MidTown Station


October 1, 2016 2:18 PM

Police Stations, Fire Stations and a Public Market:

Every year we write two budgets; the capital budget which is mostly for roads, buildings and heavy equipment and the operating budget which is almost entirely for salaries for staff. Each of the budgets is about $270,000,000.

The city borrows the money for the capital budget but pays for the operating budget from our taxes and fees. When we borrow money we get a very low interest rate of about 1%. (This low interest rate can entice us to borrow more.)

The city is growing (we'll soon go over 250,000 people) and our 50 year old infrastructure is getting old. The problem with attempting to construct all of the buildings we need is two-fold: first, the on-going and increasing debt and second, a large increase in the capital budget for facilities (but not roads) can often cause an even greater increase in the operating budget because after their built we have to "staff them".

For the 2017 budget, the council will consider three building proposals: a new police station on the near Westside (Midtown) at a cost of $8 million, a new fire and EMS station in the southeast at a cost of $5 million and a public market on E. Johnson ($9 million).
In addition to the cost of construction, these projects would require substantial new operating costs. The new Fire Station would require an additional $1.2 million in 2018 and an additional $750,000 in 2019 when it is fully staffed. The new Police Station will cost an additional $1 million in staffing.
Operating costs for the Public Market is estimated at least $500,000 in annual subsidies in the first two years and an unknown amount in subsequent years.
These projects add up to about $3 million in additional costs.  For every budget we should plan on paying higher costs for fuel, insurance, equipment and have the capacity to address unplanned problems. If we want to keep tax increases to no more than 2% it is clear that we cannot do it all.  

From the information now available, I will support the addition of a new Midtown police station. This will take pressure off the largest station on the far west side. Much of the violent crime and population growth is in that area and they need the additional staff. This has been under discussion for many years and now is the time to get to work.

A new fire station in the Femrite area would indirectly benefit much of the 15th District because it would reduce the area serviced by Station #5 (on Cottage Grove Rd). I also recognize that residents there must wait longer for service than most of the rest of the city. While the population is growing in that area it may not merit a new station at this time. But the major reason is that we will not be able to afford all of the additions in staff costs in 2018. I think that if we are postponing essential services such as fire protection services then we should hold off on the Public Market. This would be a nice addition to the community but it is not a necessity. Previously, the Council decided that two-thirds of the funding must come from non-city funds such as the federal government. None of the funds have been granted. Nonetheless, the Mayor has insisted that we go forward with the Public Market while rejecting both the Police and Fire stations. I hope the Council rejects this backwards sense of priorities. We will start reviewing the Operating Budget next week and have many meetings throughout October until we vote on the budget on Nov.14-15. So there's plenty of time to hear your views on the budget and city priorities.

Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the District 1 – Alder McKinney email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.

Recent Entries




Aldermatic District 1
City Meetings,District1 & Community Updates


100 Black Men of Madison  1000 Friends of Wisconsin  2016 Elver Park Community Day  2017 Westfest  2018 Westfest  2019 Westfest  Addiction  African American  Aging  Alternate Side Parking  Announcement  Application  Art  Ash tree  Assessment  Attachment  Auto  Back to school  Badger Mill Creek  Bench  Bike  Black History  Body worn cameras  Bridge Replacement  BRT  Brush  Brush collection  Brush Pickup  Budget  Burglary  Burn  Bus  Bus Rapid Transit  Business  Byrne Criminal Justice Innovaton Grant  Cable  Car  Car theft  Cardboard  Career fair  Census  Challenge  Chickens  Christmas tree  City Clerk's Office - Election Information  City Committee  City Engineer  City Governance  City of Madison Comprehensive Plan  Coding  Cold  Collection Schedule  Committee  Common Council  Community  Community Bond  Community Building  Community Events  Community partner  Complete count  Conference  Construction  Conversation  Coronavirus  County HWY M  County HWY PD  COVID-19  Crime  Criminal justice  Dallas  Dedication  Development  Dinner  Disaster Assistance  Disc golf  District 1 -  Dogs  Dohm  Downtown  Dream Bus  Drop-off sites  Earth Day  Election  Elver Park  Elver Park Community Recreation Center  Employment  Employment center  Engineering  Equity  Event  Evergreen  Eviction  Exact Sciences  Expansion  F-35A  Fiber  Flooding  Flu  Food  Food access  Freakfest  Frequent City Contact Information  Gaming  Gammon Lane  Grants  Hawks Landing  High Point  Highlights  Historic Preservation  HIV  Hope and A Future  Housing  Ice  Imagine Madison  Invasive Elongate Hemlock Scale  Jeffy Trail Expansion  Job fair  Jobs  Judge Doyle Square  Juneteenth  Justice  Kids  Kwik Trip  Leaf Collection  Leaves  Lewis  Library  License  Listening Session  Lock It or Lose It  Madison Common Council  Madison Community News  Madison Fire Department  Madison Living History Project  Madison Mallards  Madison Metro  Madison Police Department  Make Music Madison  Mayor  Mayor Rhodes-Conway  Mayor Soglin  Mayor's Neighborhood Conference  McKenna Boulevard  Meals  Meeting  Mentor  Metro  MGE  Mid Town Road  Midtown Road  MLK  MMSD  Mobile Resource Trailer  MPD  Mulch  Municipal ID  Natural Lawn  Neighborhood Employment Center  Neighborhood information  Neighborhood Meeting  Neighborhood Traffic Management Program  Olbrich Gardens  Operation Clean Sweep  Opioid  Optic  Park Edge  Park Ridge  Parking  Parks  Petition  PFAS  PFC  Phairs  Plan Commission  Playground  Pleasant View Road  Police  Police and Fire Commission  Poll  Poll Workers  Power outage  Press conference  Property tax  PSC  PSRC  Public Health  Public Health Announcemrnts  Public Market  Public Safety  Race  Race 2 Destiny  Racism  Raymond Road  Read  Recycling  Repairs  Report  Roosters  RSVP  Safer at Home  Safety  Salt  Sand Bags  Sanitary Sewer  School  Severe weather  Shots fired  Shredding  ShredFest  Snow  Snow Plow Updates  Spring  State Street  Storm Sewer  Stormwater  Street closures  Street sweeping  Streets Division  Streets/Transportation/Roads  Summer  Summer Strategic Plan  Survey  Sustainability  Task Force  Teen employment  TFOGS  Thanksgiving  Traffic  Traffic calming  Training  Training center  Training/Employment Opportunities  Transportation  Trash  Tree  Triad  Tutor  Urban League Greater Madison  Utilities  Vacancy  Valley View Road  Vehicle Registration Fee  Vendor  Verona Road (US 18/151) Project  Violence  Volunteer  Vote  Water Utility  Watershed  Weapons  Weather  West Fest  West Police District  Westfest  Westside  Winter  WisDOT  Women's History Month  World AIDS Day  Wreath  Yard Waste  Youth  Zoning