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Sunday, February 05, 2023
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Madison Ald. David Ahrens, District 15, will run for a vacant Dane County Board of Supervisors seat after his term on the city council ends.  

Madison Public Market, housing, grocery funding to be voted on by City Council

The biggest amendment to the mayor’s budget is to provide funding needed for the Madison Public Market.

The Madison Common Council will decide on funding for the Madison Public Market in the coming days.

Rising construction costs caused the city to withdraw an application for a $3.4 million federal grant in August for the market, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Now, there is a $5.2 million funding gap for the public market. 

The council will start voting on the city's 2023 budget Tuesday. Among other amendments, the council will vote on a proposal to add up to $6 million more in funding to the Madison Public Market project. Alds. Syed Abbas, District 12, Regina Vidaver, District 5 and Nasra Wehelie, District 7 proposed the amendment on Friday. The additional funding would come from Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF.

Construction of the market was originally set to begin this month. The funding setback pushed construction back to at least spring 2023. The results of the amendment will help determine when the market can start being built. 

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s proposed city budget is $381.9 million. Other significant amendments to the budget include council pay, housing and a South Side grocery store. 

Council members are proposing to more than double their salary from $14,904 to $31,793. The city of Madison determined that council members should work about 21 hours a week. The amendment would increase estimated hourly wages from $13.77 to $29.38.

“I understand the intention,” Rhodes-Conway told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I do think being an alder is a difficult job. I think it’s a big jump.”

South Side Alds. Sheri Carter and Tag Evers are proposing to spend another $3.5 million for improvements on a South Side grocery store. 

“Unfortunately, it’s necessary,” Rhodes-Conway said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. “The city is 100% committed to maintaining a grocery on the South Side.”

Another amendment would deliver $2.3 million to Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corp’s $72.8 million project. The project would offer 245 low-cost housing units, 4,000 square feet of commercial space and 282 parking spots at 3401 E. Washington Ave.

District 8 Alder Juliana Bennett and District 3 Alder Erik Paulson are proposing a budget amendment that would fund UniverCity Alliance to carry out an affordable student housing study. Student housing is not a part of the city’s comprehensive plan, a crisis Bennett believes should be addressed.

“We need affordable, suitable, and sustainable housing solutions in the greater campus area!” Bennett said in an email template. 

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Budget deliberations begin Tuesday night. The Common Council is expected to vote and approve the final 2023 budget by the end of this week. 

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