Board of Estimates hears city budget proposals from Metro Transit, Planning Committee

Image By: Will Chizek and Will Chizek

The city continued its discussion of the 2014 city budget Tuesday at a Board of Estimates meeting, which consists of Mayor Paul Soglin and city alders, who heard proposals by city departments, including Metro Transit and the City Planning Committee.

Chuck Kamp, the Metro Transit general manager, mentioned during his presentation that failure to increase funding to Metro Transit could result in higher costs for University of Wisconsin-Madison student bus passes, provided by Associated Students of Madison, and Madison College bus passes.

Metro Transit’s budgetary concerns stem from fleet fuel costs, which are currently targeted at $3 per gallon, according to city Finance Director David Schmiedicke.  

In order to meet the funding of the proposed budget, Kamp considered the need to raise fees associated with unlimited student ride passes.

“We listed, in our exercise to reach the mayor’s target, targeted fare increases on the unlimited ride program with UW, with Madison College, Edgewood, etc.,” Kamp said.

The ASM student bus pass prices are currently locked in until August 2014, although there is one additional option year available.

The security of transfer points was also a point of debate during the meeting. According to Kamp, the department has a target of $100,000 for safety spending, and the current proposed budget offers most of that funding.  

Kamp also mentioned Metro Transit is trying to avoid reductions in bus services in the city, such as having to cut certain routes.  

The Planning Committee, which is responsible for the management of State Street initiatives, including the chalkboards on Library Mall and the proposed installment of movable tables and chairs, does not face any severe cuts in the proposed budget.

The Planning Committee’s presentation focused on the creation of a salaried cultural resources planner, whose responsibility would include organizing programming on State Street.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, questioned the creation of the position in the current budget, and suggested starting with an hourly position instead.  

Verveer also mentioned creating a possible partnership with State Street businesses to fund the purposed position.

The Board of Estimates will continue to discuss the city’s budget and ultimately submit it to the Common Council for approval in November.  

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