City budget proposal expands law enforcement, targets State Street crime
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin proposed Tuesday a $313.9 million operating budget for 2018, which includes creating new positions for local law enforcement and an initiative to reduce crime on State Street.
“The 2018 budget seeks to strike a balance between the significant costs to staff new public safety facilities, broad-based investments needed to combat the root causes of violence and keeping city services affordable,” Soglin said at a press conference.
Soglin’s budget is a continuation of past objectives; however, new initiatives have also surfaced.
A large portion — $70 million or about 22 percent — of the budget could go to local law enforcement under the proposal. It includes a plan to add 15 police officers to the Madison Police Department. Other money will be allocated to pay for overtime, a new mental health position, technology, including smartphones for officers and to operate a new police station.
In efforts to reduce crime on State Street, the city could also see increased monitoring of liquor licenses and improvements to the Downtown Business Improvement District programming, an initiative aimed at supporting local businesses.
After federal funding cuts, Madison Metro Transit would undergo several changes to its paratransit services under the operating budget. These changes include different accommodation pick-ups, a 75 cent fare increase for paratransit riders and removal of some service options.
Also included in the budget is a five-year phase-in of a $15 minimum wage for all city employees, as well as $1.9 million dollars to support the arts in Madison.
Taxes are expected to rise by 2.7 percent if passed, which is equivalent to $64.50 to the average household’s bill.
To coincide with the budget, the city released an interactive data tool for residents to see where their tax money is going.
This budget will be voted on by the City Council the week of Nov. 13.
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