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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, April 21, 2024

Board of Estimates hears proposals for 2011 budget

The Madison Police Department, fire department and other city committees answered questions about their 2011 Operating Budget requests at a Board of Estimates meeting Tuesday.

The proposed police budget has increased by about $900,000 from 2010. Despite the increase, Police Chief Noble Wray said the department ""will have some challenges next year.""

Wray said the police department has requested four additional detectives after conducting staffing research earlier this year.  He said the detectives would focus on repeat offenders.

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Funding for the Downtown Safety Initiative will be reduced to $50,000 under the 2011 budget.  The initiative puts extra officers on patrol during times when the downtown area has the most people on the streets, like sporting events or weekend nights.

Wray said the funds are primarily used in fall instead of throughout the year, and not all the funding was used in 2010. He said the Downtown Safety Initiative was created in response to a series of robberies in 2006 and 2007.

Downtown resident Rosemary Lee said she considers herself streetwise but is increasingly scared at night and would not like to see cuts in the Downtown Safety Initiative.

""If you can't give the entire city a sense of safety, everything else is a moot point,"" she said.

Wray said the police department would be able to maintain safety downtown because police teams downtown have increased from three to five since the beginning of the initiative.

The fire department budget is up almost $1 million from last year. Fire Chief Debra Amesqua assigns increases to programs that need funding every other year.

There were no supplemental expense requests in the fire department's budget, which is rare according to Amesqua.

""

I think that's the first time in history,"" Board of Estimates member and Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said. ""Talk about being restrained.""

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