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In an attempt to “hold the line” on increasing city debt and wasteful spending, some City Alders are proposing to amend the city budget to keep down costs of the proposed Public Market.

Mayor Soglin has proposed increasing city expenditures from an initial $3.25 million in 2015 to $7.5 million in the next year for construction in 2019. Overall, the budget calls for the city share of expenses to climb from 33% of construction costs to 58%. The proposal also anticipates that the federal government will contribute $3 million along with $2.5 million from private donors.

The advocates for the amendment propose to hold the line at 33% of costs and that no city funds could be spent until the other sources of funding are secured.

Ald. David Ahrens, sponsor of the amendment, said, “Projected city costs have already more than doubled in two years. Multi-million dollar federal grants for fancy food stores are highly unlikely in the years to come. Given this spending pattern, this will cost the city $15 million by 2019. We have to hold the line.”

Unlike many building projects, the city funds for the Public Market are not borrowed but instead come from the General Fund. “We could use these funds for other purposes such as hiring more police, building affordable housing or reducing the tax burden,” said Ahrens.

The additional Alders sponsoring the amendment are Sarah Eskrich, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Sheri Carter and Mark Clear.

(See table to the right on funding pattern for Public Market.)