Madison Police and Fire Departments noted funding would be short despite the mayor's increase in the 2006 Executive Operating Budget at a city Board of Estimates meeting Monday.
The MPD and MFD were among several city municipalities that reviewed their budgets with the board. Both the police and fire departments, though pleased with Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's efforts to fund public safety in the city, pointed out funding was still insufficient to accomplish the departments' goals.
Police Chief Noble Wray said despite the mayor's increase of four police officers in the '06 budget, staffing would still be short.
"Our goal as a police department is to have 1.8 police officers for every thousand citizens," Wray said. "We would like to add 16 officers by the year 2007, and we were hoping to add eight this year and eight the next year. I was hoping the mayor would provide enough funding for the addition of four more officers for 2006."
According to Wray, the lack of staffing has led to deficiencies in programs like the MPD's Community Policing Teams. CPTs are five- or six-officer groups assigned to work on specific problems in designated areas. The CPT original plan included five CPTs, one for each district, but a lack of sufficient staffing only allowed for the creation of three.
"There is one CPT assigned to the central district, one to both the north and east districts and one to both the south and west districts," Wray said. "We've never realized the full potential of five CPTs. The central district CPT has concentrated on the downtown, but the other two teams are stretched all over the place because they have to cover such a large area."
Wray also said the number of squad cars the budget allows is insufficient for the MPD. The operating budget provides funding for the addition of two squad cars, but according to Wray, that brings the department to only an adequate amount with current staffing, not for '06 staffing.
"Our formula for squad cars is one squad for every four officers," Wray said. "I believe we will need one more squad to account for the additional four officers the budget gives us."
Fire Chief Debra Amesqua said the $75,000 Cieslewicz's budget cuts from "efficiencies" could end up costing Madison a lot more in the long run.
"We could use the efficiency funds to make repairs to our equipment now," Amesqua said. "If we don't fix some of our equipment in the near future, I think it may break and become unfixable, which would just be more costly to replace."
According to Amesqua, the '06 budget also falls short in terms of providing enough ambulances for the city, enough medical supplies to the fire department and enough funding for training more firefighters to be paramedics.
The Board of Estimates will continue to pore over the budget in the coming weeks and make recommendations and adjustments. Common council will pass their final approval to the '06 Executive Operating Budget at its meeting Nov. 15.