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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Cieslewicz unveils '09 operating budget

Mayor Dave: Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz introduced his proposed 2009 operating budget Tuesday, one he described as challenging.

Cieslewicz unveils '09 operating budget

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz introduced his proposed 2009 operating budget to members of the Common Council Tuesday, announcing a continued commitment to public safety and basic services. 


Cieslewicz made it a point to discuss the tough budget environment at the presentation and referred to high fuel costs and a poor economy as reasons for this year's challenging budget.  


This budget did not come without hard choices and difficult trade-offs but in the toughest budget I've faced, I'm confident I met my goals in a way that spreads the painful choices,"" Cieslewicz said in a statement.  


Cieslewicz announced he will not be cutting any police officers, firefighters, or crossing guards in an effort to keep public safety a top priority. Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said he was pleased with the mayor's decision to spare programs like the Downtown Safety Initiative, which provided additional police patrols downtown, from budget cuts.  


""These are not cops that search out house parties or go into the bars looking for underagers. These are cops that are visible out in the street that are supposed to be preventing violent crime,"" Verveer said. 


In his vow to maintain basic services, the mayor's proposed budget includes funding for the hire and training of firefighters for a new fire station and paramedic ambulance on Madison's west side. Additionally, the budget proposal calls for a 50-cent increase in Metro bus fares.  


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Verveer said the issue of bus fares could trickle down to students if the Transit and Parking Commission, who would handle the increases, decided to change bus pass programs like the Associated Students of Madison Bus Pass. However, the mayor promised to use the fare increase to fund expansion and improvement of the bus system.  


""A 25-cent increase would have been necessary to just maintain current levels [while] the additional 25 cents will allow Metro to expand services, increase security at transfer points, enhance ridership through increased marketing, double programs that help low-income riders afford bus fares, and create a reserve to guard against future fuel increases"" Cieslewicz said in a statement last week.  


The Common Council is scheduled to vote on the budget proposal the week of Nov. 10.  

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