Konkel Raises Serious Concerns About Integrity of City Budget Process
Review Reveals Items Funded as Part of 2007 City Budget Not Implemented
Madison - Madison Alder Brenda Konkel (2nd District), released today a list of items that the Common Council approved as part of last year's city budget deliberations, but which were never implemented by the City. The review by Konkel came in the wake of a meeting last week by the city's budget committee (Board of Estimates) where Mayor Cieslewicz and City Comptroller Dean Brasser as well as other City staff, in response to questions by Konkel, acknowledged several failures to implement budget directives from the approved 2007 City Budget.
"What became clear when I started looking into items we had adopted last year is that the Council's priorities have been overlooked or flat out disregarded in several areas," said Konkel.
The list of items approved but not implemented includes:
• $63,000 in funding to provide paid sick days to City employees who did not have this benefit, was unanimously approved by the Council on a voice vote but never implemented (2006 Operating Budget Amendment #1);
• Funding of $300,000 for the Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) 10% set-aside that was approved by the Council but never spent;
• $50,000 for neighborhood planning grants, approved on a voice vote by the Council but never distributed to neighborhood associations conducting or updating their neighborhood plans; (Operating Budget Amendment #26);
• Funding to hire a neighborhood planner (Planner 3) was approved by the Council but a planner was never hired; and
• Further study on the role of and priorities for neighborhoods as part of the reorganization of the Department of Planning and Development. The Council required that this study and a report be delivered to the Council by mid-October; no study has been conducted and no report provided. (Operating Budget Amendment #25, modified by Council resolution in March)
"Learning that several budget items approved by the Council as our funding priorities have not in fact been implemented raises tremendous concerns as we look ahead to the Council's deliberations and votes next month on the 2008 budget," said Konkel.
Konkel added, "The Common Council trusts the Mayor and City departments to fully implement the approved budget, or at least to let us know if there are problems in doing so. This list puts that trust and integrity of our budget process in jeopardy."
In response to these failures to act and a history of funds not being spent in the capital budget, Konkel will introduce a resolution at the Tuesday, October 16th City Council meeting requiring quarterly budget updates to the Common Council and specifying that each year's annual executive proposal shall include a report on which areas have been over or under-spent by more than 5%, along with explanations of these spending discrepancies from the approved budget.
- Ald. Brenda Konkel, 608-345-8720