City News

The city council will consider 19 budget amendments. Here are the ones you need to know.

The city council will discuss budget amendments starting this week.

Image By: Jon Yoon

The Madison City Council will begin their budget deliberations Monday, and alders will debate a number of provisions with the potential to affect students and other city residents.

The amendments, if passed, would add over $500,000 to the city operating budget’s general fund and would require an extra $1.5 million of borrowing in the capital budget. Take a look at some of the most notable amendments the council will discuss:

Body camera pilot program sparks debate

An amendment to the capital budget would take away funds from a Madison Police Department body camera pilot program.

Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, added $123,000 to the budget for the pilot program, but another member, Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, District 5, wants to nix the idea.

Bidar-Sielaff said earlier this year she is not opposed to body cameras in theory, but that she believes a pilot program is a bad move for the city at this time.

“Given all the other priorities and the fact that the police department themselves nor the most impacted communities have prioritized this as something it would like to see immediately, I don’t think it is time to move forward with this,” Bidar-Sielaff said, according to the Capital Times.

Bidar-Sielaff’s proposal is expected to be hotly debated.

Job center, employment programs could see extra funds

A job center, originally slated to open in 2016 on Madison’s west side, would get an additional funding boost if an amendment to the capital budget passes.

The Park Edge/Park Ridge Employment Center’s opening has been repeatedly stalled by monetary issues, but the budget proposal would add $400,000 to the project for construction costs. The center will provide job services for teenagers and others, including work readiness and career-building programs.

The center, at 1233 McKenna Blvd., is expected to open in late 2018.

Additionally, Bidar-Sielaff has proposed adding $150,000 to the operating budget to support youth and adult employment programs. Her plan would take away $240,000 from a city violence prevention effort, but Bidar-Sielaff contends that’s a fair tradeoff.

“Youth and adult employment are evidence-based practices for violence prevention, so it makes sense to me that if we’re going to continue working towards putting more funding into violence prevention should put it to where we already know it is working,” Bidar-Sielaff said, according to the Capital Times.

In total, all capital budget amendments would increase taxes by $1.86 on the average home. The operating budget changes would increase taxes by $5.54.

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