Alder Grant Foster
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Foster’s Updates
Resource Recovery, Body-Worn Cameras, Earth Day - D15 Update 4/18/22
Resource Recovery Charge
I've received a number of emails regarding the proposed Resource Recovery Charge. This new charge was proposed last year and adopted as part of our current year's budget to help close the gap between expenses and revenues. The adopted budget calls for $3M in annual revenues to be generated by the new special charge ($1.5M for the second half of this year) which is estimated to add $4.10/month to the municipal services bill. The charge will apply to all households that are eligible for recycling collection and will be a flat fee so it will not discourage or reduce actual recycling by residents. The ordinance creating the new charge was recommended at Finance Committee last Monday and is on the council's agenda on Tuesday for adoption (item #93).
I'm very sympathetic to concerns that our property taxes and other fees continue to rise putting pressure on many, especially those with fixed incomes. I agree with those that would prefer to raise revenues in a more progressive manner so that the burden falls on those that can afford it. Unfortunately, municipalities in Wisconsin are only allowed to levy a property tax and that tax is strictly limited by the state. This has essentially put the city in a 'fixed income' situation as well that has failed to keep up with rising costs and has been compounded by reduced state aid. This situation has been growing worse and worse over the last decade and we are on a collision course if changes don't happen at the state level. Meanwhile, Madison (like other municipalities) are forced to find revenues elsewhere, including the previously adopted Urban Forestry Special Charge, the unpopular Vehicle Registration Fee, and now a new Resource Recovery Special Charge.
For those interested in learning more about these issues and our associated budget struggles, I would strongly encourage you to watch the recorded presentation from Finance committee. Here are links to the video and presentation.
If this charge is not approved and we need to make up the budget difference elsewhere, I would appreciate hearing from you regarding what City services you are willing to see reduced or eliminated. If you would like to provide comment on this or any other item in front of the Common Council on Tuesday, you can do so here.
Body-Worn Camera Pilot
I have also heard from a number of District 15 residents regarding a proposed pilot for body-worn cameras in Madison. The use of these cameras has been considered locally for at least the last 8 years starting with this 2014 report by the Madison Police Department. Since that time, use of the technology and its potential harms and benefits has been reviewed by a number of city bodies including the Community Policing and Body Camera Ad Hoc Committee (2015), the Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee (2016-2020), and most recently the Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee that published its Final Report And Model Policy in 2021. In that report, the Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee acknowledged the potential harms and benefits of such a program and ultimately suggested that a body-worn program could be implemented in Madison in a way that avoids some of the potential harms while achieving some of the benefits and recommended that the Common Council consider implementation of a BWC pilot if 10 preconditions were met. The recommendations in the report were then reviewed by the Public Safety Review Committee as well as the Equal Opportunities Commission which both recommended that the Common Council not pursue the pilot program described in the report nor a full deployment of body-worn cameras.
In spite of the recommendations against implementation of such a program by these city bodies and with no discussion or deliberation about a potential pilot program in our 2022 budget deliberations, a resolution was introduced by several members of the Common Council in December to authorize an undefined pilot for the city's north police district. This resolution was updated in the last few days, but still provides no information on the scope and purpose of such a pilot, what information we expect to learn from the pilot or on what measures it will be evaluated. Perhaps most importantly, the resolution fails to identify the expected costs of full implementation of body-worn cameras in Madison and how this may exacerbate the structural deficit we find ourselves in. (See above related to the proposed Resource Recovery Special Charge and watch the video presentation from Finance).
While I am open to considering implementation of body-worn cameras in the future, this resolution fails to provide the basic information necessary to meet the most important precondition recommended in the report: #10 The Common Council should engage in informed deliberation on whether resources required for BWC implementation would best be allocated to BWC implementation or other competing needs. There has been no deliberation to date on this pilot by the Common Council and the sponsors of this resolution have failed to provide the basic information needed for that important discussion. I will vote no on the resolution in front of us on Tuesday. For those interested in providing comment on this proposal or any other item on the council agenda you can do so here.
April LENA Meeting
The Lake Edge Neighborhood Association will hold its monthly meeting on Monday and will include guest speakers from Madison Metro on updated bus routes, City of Madison Parks on trash pick up, and the Muskellounge regarding a July event. You can find more details here.
Celebrate Earth Day on Friday at the Learn to Rethink Trash event where you can explore how and why we've created so much trash. Rethink what we can do to create less. Dive into the science of trash to understand how landfills protect our environment by managing the waste our society creates. Step aboard the Trash Lab, a mobile exhibit designed to educate and motivate us to create less trash and rethink our relationship with waste.
And on Saturday, join your neighbors in the Earth Day Challenge 2022 to help clean up trash in our city parks.
Trans Joy & Ride Against Hate
Two events on Saturday celebrate and support our LGBTQ+ and trans communities. The Ride Against Hate starts at 10a at East High School and finishes at the Celebrate Trans Joy in Community in Olbrich Park.
Madison College's 2022 Annual Spring Pow Wow
Madison College's 2022 Annual Spring Pow Wow will be held on Saturday, April 23, at Redsten Gym, 1701 Wright Street. Doors open at 11am, and Grand Entries will be at 1pm and 7pm. Find more information here.
No Weekly Update Next Week
I will be out of town and offline next weekend and unable to share a weekly update. One item of particular interest that week is the April 25th Plan Commission meeting where the SASY Plan Amendment and Zion redevelopment proposal will be considered. The Urban Design Commission recommended initial approval of the redevelopment proposal last week and the Plan Commission will make a recommendation that will ultimately be before the Common Council on May 10th. The agenda is not yet published for the 4/25 meeting, but it will be available next week along with a link to register for public comment here.
In the News
District 15 Public Works Projects
(You can find a list of all engineering projects in District 15 here.)
Starkweather Drive/Garver Path - 2/24/2022 Update: There are a few areas along the new path that are not draining well, and are being barricaded off. The Contractor is scheduled to repair the pavement as soon as possible in the Spring. We apologize for the inconvenience.
St. Paul Avenue, Ohio Avenue, Talmadge Street, Jackson Street, Lafollette Avenue Reconstruction - 4/13/2022 Update: The Contractor, RG Huston Co, is planning to begin with Sanitary Sewer work on St Paul Ave starting on Monday, April 18, 2022. Expect equipment mobilization prior to this date.
Eastmorland Sidewalk Installation - Scheduled for construction in 2022
Starkweather Creek Watershed Flood Study - First public meeting held
Atwood Avenue/Olbrich Path - Board of Park Commissioners approved Option 3 for Olbrich path alignment
Davies St., Dempsey Rd., Maher Ave. - Design work is continuing following feedback received at the January public meeting. Construction planned for 2023
District 15 Development Projects (dates are tentative and subject to change)
Zion Church Redevelopment Proposal (2165 Linden Avenue)
3900 Monona Drive
4/11 - Submission of application (expected)
Save the Date
May 7 - Eastmorland Outdoor Market & Seed Swap & ECA Annual Membership meeting
May 11 - Conservation Park Tour | Edna Taylor
June 18-19 - Lake Edge/Eastmorland/Glendale joint neighborhood garage sale
June 21 - Make Music Madison
July 14 - Eastmorland Outdoor Market
July 17 - Eastmorland Garden/Chicken Coop Tour
Sept 15 - Eastmorland Outdoor Market
Nov 12 - Eastmorland Outdoor Market
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