City of

District 6

Alder Brian Benford

Image of Alder Brian Benford

Alder Brian Benford

Contact Information

Home Address:

2273 E. Washington Ave #1
Madison , WI 53704

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 Benford’s Updates

D6 Items of Interest Week of October 21, 2019

October 20, 2019 9:54 PM

Highlights: Amendments to the 2020 operating budget will be discussed at Finance Committee on Monday. There are several amendments of concern (see the list below).


October 17, 2019 – Community meeting on F-35s. Approximately 200 people filled the large meeting room of Goodman CC at Brassworks. One of the speakers, historian and activist Allen Ruff wondered why the Air Force uses the term "beddown". He informed us the US Department of Defense defines beddown as "The provision of expedient facilities for troop support to provide a platform for the projection of force". The draft Environmental Impact Statement doesn't seek public comments on the larger questions of the global impact of US military power and the use of these weapons as projections of force in the many forever wars, but that is what they are. Deafening projections of force, at home and abroad.


Please contact your federal elected officials and tell them we want to spend money on human and planet survival, members of our community should not have to sacrifice their health and quality of life. 


US Senator Tammy Baldwin 608-264-5338 (currently a supporter of the F-35)

US Senator Ron Johnson 608-240-9629 (currently a supporter of the F-35)

US Representative Mark Pocan 608-258-9800 (says he has no power, gathering information)


Please be sure to send in your comments by November 1 to the National Guard Bureau. Get 10 friends to comment. Online comments can be submitted here. Comments can also be directed to Ramon Ortiz by email, by mail at NGB/A4AM, 3501 Fetchet Avenue, Joint Base Andrews, MD 20762-5157 or by phone at 240-612-7042.


Rep Chris Taylor, Alder Rebecca Kemble and activist Brandi Grayson will be part of a fact-finding mission next week traveling to Burlington VT to see the real time impact of F-35s. The Northside Planning Council and Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin is hosting a F-35 Community Speak Out and simple meal, Wednesday October 30 from 6-8p at the East Madison Community Center, 8 Straubel Ct. Alder Kemble will also report back from her trip.


October 17, 2019 – PFAS testing of seasonal wells complete. Madison Water Utility has been conducting advanced testing of the city's 23 water wells looking for a class of chemicals known as "PFAS." The chemicals are widely used in cookware, food packaging, stain and water-resistant clothing, upholstery and firefighting foams. The compounds do not degrade and are showing up in dust, soil and water worldwide. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has recommended a groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for two types of PFAS called PFOA and PFOS. Levels at all Madison wells fall below this recommended standard.

Madison Water Utility tested its four seasonal wells for dozens of types of PFAS over the summer and received results this week. The utility generally operates seasonal wells during the high-demand summer and fall months. Results show that city's four seasonal wells do have detections of the chemicals. That brings the total number of wells where PFAS have been found to fourteen. Well 23 on Leo Dr. is rarely used and was last pumped into the water system in the summer of 2017. The well has a mixture of different types of PFAS compounds at low levels. PFOA and PFOS were measured at a combined level of 6.6 ppt. Well 8 in Olbrich Park and Well 17 on S. Hancock St. each have a mixture of PFAS compounds detected at trace levels; most levels are too low to measure accurately. Well 27 on N. Randall Ave. has a mixture of PFAS compounds, all of which are at trace levels too low to measure accurately.

October 18, 2019 – Final report of MPD Policy and Procedures Ad Hoc Review Committee released. After nearly four years of study, evaluation, and deliberation, Madison's Ad Hoc Committee charged with undertaking a comprehensive review of the Madison Police Department (MPD) has completed its work and issued its final report. The report contains 177 specific recommendations which the committee has advised are designed to chart a path for the future that will help bring together Madison's diverse communities and its police department, build mechanisms for collaboration and trust through enhanced civilian input and oversight of the policing function, and ensure that the Madison Police Department continues its long-standing ideals of community policing and problem-oriented policing.

The centerpiece of the report and its recommendations is that Madison should create structures for civilian oversight of police through a new Office of an Independent Monitor that responds to a Civilian Review Board, composed of civilians who reflect all of Madison's diverse communities and the lived experiences of those members of the community who frequently come into contact with the police. That recommendation was submitted to the Common Council separately on August 6, 2019, and was accepted by the Council. The Mayor's budget includes $200,000 to implement that recommendation.


Improvements at Burr Jones Park. Several people have asked what is going on at Burr Jones Park. The Parks Division held a series of public meetings in late 2018 and early 2019 to review and discuss park amenities. Construction operations began in late September. Improvements to the park include a new parking lot, bioretention area, basketball court, bike path connection and new athletic field lighting system. Construction will be completed by May 30, 2020, with the athletic fields available for reservations in the spring of 2021. Below are the final plans for the pending improvements.

Burr Jones Park proposed improvements PDF 

Burr Jones Park proposed athletic field lighting system PDF 

If you have questions or comments on the proposed improvements, please contact Mike Sturm at (608) 267-4921 or


Monday October 21

Finance Committee

4:30p room 215 MMB


3. 57713 Amending the 2019 Capital Budget for Sewer Utility and Authorizing the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute an Amendment to the contract between Madison and Strand Associates, Inc. for additional design engineering services for the Blair/John Nolen Intersection final design. (6th AD)


5. 57566 A resolution authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Wisconsin -Madison to allow the UW Police Department to write certain citations as City of Madison ordinance violations to be processed in Madison Municipal Court.


6. 57861 Judge Doyle Square Negotiation Progress Update

Noticed to go into closed session


7. 57501 2020 Executive Operating Budget


The projected $7.9M revenue from the proposed Vehicle Registration Fee is embedded throughout the Mayor's 2020 Executive Operating budget. It would require a total revamp of the operating budget to remove it. I agree with those of you who have contacted me to say it is regressive. Others say they support the fee as a means to improve Metro services for all residents.  I'm sure both sides would agree we need the feds and the state legislature to do a better job funding multi-modal transportation systems. A regional transportation authority, even though it relies on a sales tax, would be a more equitable way to fund and grow public transportation. But we don't have that option. The Vehicle Registration Fee is the  option we have.


Transportation Director Tom Lynch and his staff prepared an explanation of the Vehicle Registration Fee, it shows how inadequate Metro service is for many residents of our city, especially if you need to transfer. Not all the funds are being used for implementing bus rapid transit and there are useful graphs that explain how the money is woven throughout the budget.


Operating budget amendments by Finance Committee members and other alders were released Friday.


Notably, Alder Shiva Bidar has come up with a way to offset the proposed $40 increase of the vehicle registration fee for low income residents who are eligible for the WIC program.  Residents are income-eligible for the WIC (Women Infants and Children) program if they are members of families that satisfy the income standard prescribed for reduced-price school meals. The proposed amendment provides funding for 2,500 gift cards to be distributed to WIC recipients to offset the cost of the proposed Vehicle Registration Fee and could be used for whatever the person wants. The amount was determined based on WIC enrollment trends, in 2019 PHMDC served 2,495 unduplicated families. I am not currently a member of Finance and don't get to vote but I support amendment #1.


Alders are now getting canned emails from people who are echoing former Chief of Police Mike Koval's call for 31 new officers: "You can make a difference. Madison needs more police (Chief Koval says 31 more). We do NOT need a $200,000 full-time police critic whose only job will be to second-guess every police officer. Madison needs 10 more firefighters and an ambulance for Fire Station #14 on the Southeast side.  Public safety should be the first priority of city government." The police auditor function, a key recommendation from both the OIR Group/consultant and the MPD Policy and Procedures Ad Hoc Review Committee, was added by Mayor Rhodes-Conway in her 2020 Executive Operating budget.  According to the VRF explanation linked above, the proposed 2020 operating budget for public safety and health is 5 to 7 percent higher than it was in the 2019 adopted budget due to the VRF.  The Mayor didn't add patrol officers but she did add funds for mental health programs.


Several of the amendments are revenue neutral or clarify language.


Several amendments propose cuts: closing Goodman pool a week early, eliminating or reducing lifeguard coverage at area beaches (at BB Clarke and Olbrich among others), reducing the Community Building and Engagement funding, eliminating new Metro positions, removing funding for the new police auditor position, and decreasing the pay raise to most city staff.  I don't support removing the auditor position, reducing a promised wage increase to hardworking city staff or reducing funding for Community Building and Engagement.


Other amendments add funding for pavement markings, police data analyst position, snow and ice control on shared use paths, implementation of Vision Zero a strategy to make short-term fixes at high injury intersections with a focus on four in 2020 (It doesn't say but E Washington corridor between Blair and 1st would be part of the pilot), and adding 3, 6, or 12 new patrol officers. I support the amendments for Vision Zero and restoring all pavement marking funds.


The Finance Committee has some wiggle room to increase the operating budget but not as much as the cost of the amendments. I assume that some of the items are non-starters. There are a few alders who want to fund new police officers and went looking for cuts to pay for them. There will be some hard decisions, especially around adding new officers. I assume if proponents for more police or cutting the auditor position don't prevail at Finance, they will put forward amendments for the final budget deliberations in November.


Please attend the Finance Committee if you are interested. You can register support/oppose and whether you wish to speak. Send an email to Finance Committee members, care of Laura Larsen, and your comments will be added to the legislative record. You should also be able to watch it on your computer or cable TV. Also please let me know your thoughts After Finance Committee votes on Monday, there will be the another chance to make amendments to the 2020 capital and operating budget during Council deliberations Nov 12-13.


BTW if you want to share your thoughts with the Finance Committee or the entire council at be sure to include your address.




1. Appropriate $100,000 in Direct Appropriations to administer a program providing $40 gift cards to WIC recipients to offset the cost of the proposed Vehicle Registration Fee. The program will be administered by Public Health. Decrease the General Fund subsidy to Metro Transit by $100,000; and decrease funding for consulting services by $100,000. 


8. Reduce funding for the Goodman Pool by $15,250.


9. Reduce Hourly Wages and related benefits by $30,000 for Lifeguards.


The Parks Division has 12 beaches in the system, eight of which are staffed with lifeguards. The proposed amendment eliminates lifeguard coverage at five beaches and reduces coverage at three beaches. Reductions: BB Clarke – reduce from daily coverage to 4 days per week; Tenney – reduce from 5 days per week to 4 days per week; Vilas – reduce from daily coverage to 5 days per week. Eliminations: Olbrich – reduce from 5 days per week to no coverage; Bernie's – reduce from 3 days per week to no coverage; Esther – reduce from 3 days per week to no coverage; Spring Harbor – reduce from 3 days per week to no coverage; Warner – reduce from 3 days per week to no coverage.


11. Change the start date for additional programming and maintenance staff at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens Learning Center and greenhouse to July 2020 (from January 1, 2020) and reduce the appropriation by $57,500.


12. Decrease the funding for Community Building and Engagement (CBE) by $115,000 from $315,000 to $200,000 by decreasing the Purchased Services-in CDD's Community Support Services.


13. Eliminate two of the five newly created positions included in Metro Transit's 2020 Executive Budget: 1. Transit Operator (1.0 FTE) 2. Technology Specialist (1.0 FTE) $150,000


14. Remove $200,000 from Direct Appropriations for the Police Auditor.


15. Decrease the pay increase for General Municipal Employees from 3.25% to 3.0% in 2020.


16. Add $20,000 for Purchased Services in IT's Application Development & Support service for a purchase of service contract with DANEnet to support programming that addresses the digital gap for residents.


17a. Restore $25,000 to support Pavement Marking activities. (The Mayor's Executive budget proposed to reduce pavement marking by $50K)

17b. Restore $50,000 to support Pavement Marking activities.


20. Add 0.6 FTE Police Data Analyst Position and appropriate $55,400 for salary, benefits, and supplies.


21. Appropriate $45,000 in the Engineering Division budget and $20,000 in the Parks Division budget to increase snow and ice control on arterial shared use paths on weekends and holidays.


23. Appropriate $160,000 to advance the implementation of Vision Zero, which seeks to eliminate all severe injury and fatal crashes on City streets.


The proposed amendment is intended to fund rapid, short-term fixes at high injury intersections. Traffic Engineering would focus on four of the City's high injury crash intersections and use applications from the Highway Safety Manual, including signage, pavement markings, and speed reductions to make a measurable difference in crash severity. The long-term goal is to follow up on these interim solutions with more permanent changes to the geometry that would require curb/island changes. The long term solutions would most likely be funded through the capital budget. Funding for this amendment is shown in the Other category. If the amendment is approved, Traffic Engineering will provide the funding breakdown by expenditure category which may include personnel costs, supplies and/or services.


25a. Add 3.0 FTE Police Officers to the Police Department budget and appropriate $168,000 for salaries, benefits, and initial issue for the officers to begin in the Department's May 2020 Academy.

25b. Add 6.0 FTE Police Officers to the Police Department budget and appropriate $335,830 for salaries, benefits, and initial issue for the officers to begin in the Department's May 2020 Academy.

25c. Add 12.0 FTE Police Officers to the Police Department budget and appropriate $671,700 for salaries, benefits, and initial issue for the officers to begin in the Department's May 2020 Academy.


8. 57669 Creating Sec. 12.177 of the Madison General Ordinances to establish a City of Madison motor vehicle registration fee.


After the Finance Committee votes on amendments to the 2020 Operating budget, they will take up the enabling resolution to establish the vehicle registration fee. The push to get this adopted is due to state law rules about publication of legal notices/ordinance changes. The Mayor's goal is to start collecting the fee as soon as February.


Tuesday October 22

Water Utility Board

4:30p Madison Water Utility- 119 E. Olin Ave. Conference Room A&B


5. 54488 Update regarding poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) Attachments: Will include a discussion of how the board prefers to receive information about PFAS from different entities.


Tuesday October 22

Common Council Executive Committee

5:15p room 153 MMB


SPECIAL CCEC MEETING - Aldermanic District 8 Applicant Interviews & Recommendation to Common Council


Wednesday October 23

Alcohol License Review Committee

5:30p room 201 CCB


57375 Presentation Final report of the Alcohol Outlet Density Analysis City of Madison Finance Department


Wednesday October 23


5:30p room 206 MMB


1. 57857 Discuss Renaming Committee

2. 57858 Discuss Committee Membership

3. 57859 Review and discuss values, parameters for identifying Education Committee work and priorities including review and discussion of previously identified list of priorities by the committee Attachments: 2019 Topic Summary


Wednesday October 23


6p Goodman Maintenance Facility 1402 Wingra Creek Parkway


6 57639 Presentation of Current Operations of Golf Courses

7 57871 2019-2020 Meeting Dates


Thursday October 24

Housing Strategy Committee

4:30 room 302 MMB


6a 56845 Accepting the white paper titled "Equitable Development in Madison: An assessment of factors contributing to displacement and gentrification"

Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the District 6 – Alder Benford 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.




Neighborhood Meeting
Road Construction


2020 Census  5G cell technology  Affordable Housing  Alcohol policy  Arts  Atwood Avenue  Baldwin Street  BB Clarke Park  Beacon  Bike Path  Blair St  Body Worn Cameras  Breese Stevens Field  Burr Jones Park  Bus Rapid Transit  Capital Budget  Capitol East District  Central Park  City Governance  Clean Streets Clean Lakes  Climate Action  Climate Resilience  Co-housing  Comprehensive Plan  Conditional Use  Confederate monuments in Forest Hill Cemetery  Coronavirus Aid  Covid-19  Darbo Drive  Demolition  Development  Dog Parks  DreamUp WI  Drones  East Main Street  East Washington Ave  Eastwood  Electric Vehicle Charging Facilities  Emerald Ash Borer  Environmental remediation  Essen Haus Properties  F-35A  Fair Oaks Avenue  Fireworks  First Settlement Historic District  First Settlement neighborhood  First Street  Flooding  Food Policy  Garver Feed Mill  Golf Task Force  Goodman Community Center  Gun Violence prevention  Hawthorne Library  Hermina Street  Historic Preservation  Historic Preservation Plan  Homeless Day Resource Center  Homeless services  Housing policy  Hudson Beach  Imagination Center at Reindahl Park  Independent Auditor  Interest  Jenifer St Market  Jenifer Street  John Nolen/Willy/E Wilson/Blair St intersection  Judge Doyle Square  King Street  Lake Mendota  Lake Monona  Land Banking  Landmarks Committee  Law Park  LGBTQI  Liquor License  Local Governance Study  Madison Metropolitan School District  Madison Police Dept.  Madison Public Library  Madison-Kipp Corporation  Mansion Hill Historic District  Marling  Marquette Bungalow Historic District  Marquette Neighborhood Association  McPike Park  Medicare for All  Meetings  Metro  Milwaukee Street  Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan  Monona Golf Course  Motor Vehicle Registration Fee  Motor Vehicle Registration Fee  MPD Civilian Oversight Board  Neighborhood Association  Neighborhood Meeting  North Planning Council  Olbrich Park  Operating Budget  Opioid epidemic  Oscar Mayer  Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee  Parking  Parks and open space  Pedestrian and bicycle program  Pedestrian and bike safety  PFAS  Pinney Library  Placemaking  Police and Fire Commission  President's Work Group on Surveillance  Public Art  Public Market District  Public Safety building/Jail  Quiet Zone  Racial disparities  Railroad  Reconstruction  Reger Park  Relief and Economic Security (CARES)  Room Tax  RTA  Salt  Salvation Army  Sanctuary City  Schenk Atwood Starkweather Yahara Neighborhood  Schenks Corners  Sector 67  Skatepark  Small Business Equity and Recovery Grant  Snow Emergency  Solar  South Capitol District Planning  Starkweather Creek  Stormwater  Streatery Program  Street  Street Construction  Study  Sustainability  Task Force  Task Force on Structure of City Government  Tax Increment Financing  Third Lake Ridge Historic District  TID 25  TID 36  TID 37  Tourist Rooming houses  Town of Blooming Grove  Town of Madison  Traffic  Transportation  Trees  Truax Field  Truman Olson  Union Corners  Union Triangle Neighborhood  University Heights Historic District  Vision Zero  Voit Farm  Voting  Water Utility  Watershed steward  Watershed studies  Waubesa St  Weed Spraying  Williamson Street  WilMar Neighborhood Center  Wilson Street  Winnebago Street  Winter Advisory  Worthington Park  Worthington Park Neighborhood  WSOR  Yahara Place Park  Yahara River  Zoning  Zoom app