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Today, the Mayor released the 2021 Executive Capital Budget and 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for introduction at tonight’s Common Council meeting. The Capital Budget and the Operating Budget, which will be released in October, will comprise the Mayor’s full budget proposal for 2021.

The Capital Budget is being released in an unprecedented time when the community and government are challenged by a global pandemic and the health, social, and economic fallout from it. City government is working to respond to those challenges while also acting on its responsibility to advance racial justice and equity for all our residents.

A part of the Mayor’s proposed response – that which relates to capital investments in neighborhoods, businesses, and infrastructure – is contained in the 2021 Executive Capital Budget and the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

“In the Capital Budget and CIP, I outline a 5-year plan to increase funding for affordable housing and homeownership to those who need assistance the most, advance equity in business ownership, improve our transit system - a critical service to underserved communities, expand our investments in solar energy and solar jobs, among other priorities,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway.

“We are only at the beginning of fully understanding how the current economic fallout from COVID-19 will constrain the City’s budget for the next few years. But even in the midst of the challenging circumstances we face, we must double down on finding ways to build the Madison we want, not just the Madison we have always had,” said the Mayor.

The Mayor presented her 2021 Capital Budget at The Grove Apartments, a project by MSP Real Estate that used the City’s Affordable Housing Fund to help construct low-income housing. “Projects like The Grove Apartments create opportunities for affordable rents. This project and many others are creating apartments and ownership opportunities for low-income families and families experiencing homelessness. This project is getting our City closer to our goal of providing affordable housing options for all and I intend to continue to expand on these investments as much as possible through my budget,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway.

Some of the Capital Budget investments that support this goal include:

  • Doubling last year’s increase in Affordable Housing Development projects and expanding the ways in which the funds can be used;
  • Stepping up our commitment to the Green Power program increasing access to good jobs and apprenticeship programs for a diverse array of our city’s workers and youth; and
  • Staying true to our commitment of making Bus Rapid Transit a reality in Madison by 2024.

Additional budget highlights are described below, presented as they related to the six Citywide Elements defined in Imagine Madison. More programs and services will be outlined in the 2021 Executive Operating Budget in October.

Neighborhoods and Housing

  • Increasing the City’s investment in supporting the development of affordable housing. Under the Mayor’s plan, we will step up the City’s annual allocation for affordable housing projects from $5.5 million annually to $6.5 million annually. Starting in 2021, $2.0 million from this funding source will be set aside for developments not associated with tax credit programs to help more types of developments and organizations access these funds.
  • Adding $480,000 over the next six years for lending programs to help rehab our housing stock and to help seniors stay in their homes. The increased funding responds to the increased demand we have seen for these programs in 2019 and 2020.
  • Continuing and expanding the Land Banking program that began in 2020. The Mayor’s budget increases funding for this initiative by $3 million over the next two years to ensure the City is able to acquire strategic parcels of land to combat gentrification specifically on the South side of Madison, assist displaced residents, and stabilize our housing market.

Economy and Opportunity

  • Continuing the Small Business Equity and Recovery program that is currently under consideration by the Common Council. The Mayor’s budget includes $6.5 million for this new program over the 5-year CIP to promote equity and resilience during this time of economic recovery. This program will help business owners of color, women, and other underrepresented business owners to start or expand their businesses and invest in equipment to protect workers and visitors from COVID.

Land Use and Transportation

  • Funding the first phase of Bus Rapid Transit with the goal of having the East-West corridor operational by 2024. This $160 million capital investment from federal and local sources has the potential to reduce ride times by 35%. Implementing BRT will allow us to redesign our existing bus routes to better serve communities of color, who currently experience twice as many transfers as white communities. Once this work is complete, residents will be better connected to employment hubs, retail centers, and medical services in a way that will no longer require hour-long ride times and carefully planned transfers.
  • Allocating $3.0 million for the Vision Zero program to redesign the City’s most dangerous intersections in a way that will reduce traffic and pedestrian crashes.

Green and Resilient

  • Increasing funding for Energy & Sustainability Improvements by nearly $10.0 million across the CIP and sustaining the increased investment through 2026. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are smart investments that result in savings over time while supporting green jobs. This will allow us to grow our Green Power solar apprenticeship program to create career pathways in solar power while making progress toward the critical goal of reducing our carbon emissions.
  • Continuing to invest in flood mitigation projects based on recommendations from watershed studies that have been underway since 2019. My plan seeks to invest $21.6 million over the next 5 years to ensure our stormwater network can keep residents safe when large rain events occur.
  • Accelerating the investment in LED (light-emitting diode) streetlights with the goal of converting all remaining streetlights to LED by 2023. This $3.5 million project will be carried out over three years and has the potential to save the City nearly $400,000 annually in electricity costs once complete.

Culture and Character

  • Continuing funding in the Municipal Art Fund with the goal of supporting two to four Art in Public Places projects annually.
  • Investing $4.8 million to expand the Warner Park Community Center in order to eventually provide the City’s youth with a place to come together in a safe and inclusive environment.

Effective Government

  • Renovating Fire Station 6 on Madison’s South side. The renovated station will make long overdue improvements to ensure the workplace conditions are inclusive for all Fire Department staff. The additional capacity at the station will also ensure we are able to provide fire services to Town of Madison residents following the attachment in fall 2022.
  • Renovating the first floor of the City County Building. As the home to the Parks Division, City Clerk, Treasury, and Assessor, this is first stopping point for our residents when coming to interact with their City government. Now, it is more important than ever to ensure these spaces are safe for City staff while continuing to be welcoming to our residents.
  • Transitioning to a cloud-based solution for the City’s office suite of programs. This move will ensure our staff are equipped with current tools to do everything from analyzing and presenting data to communicating with the public and their teams in an efficient way. This approach will allow us to stay current as updated IT tools are available.

The Executive 2021 Capital Budget and CIP are scheduled for discussion at City Finance Committees through September, and are scheduled for discussion and adoption at Common Council in November.

The Mayor’s full 2021 Executive Capital Budget can be found here.