Mayor Paul Soglin announced Monday the city received additional state funding that he hopes to allocate toward the Madison Police Department and an environmental initiative.
David Schmiedicke, finance director for the city of Madison, said the state aid, adding up to $267,000, will become part of Madison’s overall budget. He said Soglin proposed new amendments to use the additional aid on three items not initially included in the budget.
Schmiedicke said Madison will have a balanced budget, which is required, unlike in many other municipalities.
Madison’s 2013 budget is four percent higher than the 2012 budget. This includes a 10 percent increase in transportation aid, he said.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said the budget increase takes into account the increase in property taxes. He said Madison property taxes are approaching the maximum the city can charge and added the budget is very tight.
Resnick said the one item proposed to receive the additional funding is a consultant to recommend whether or not Madison should invest in a bio-digester, a machine that uses cow manure to create energy.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the bio-digester can also help prevent agricultural waste from running off into the lakes system. Dane County currently has one bio-digester and will receive another one shortly, he said.
Resnick said the rest of the additional funding will go toward the MPD. One item will fund the position of the MPD employee who keeps track of the online records of pawn shops and similar second-hand dealers, he said.
This is part of a relatively new initiative MPD has launched called Leads Online, a program that requires pawn shops to record their purchases in an online database, Resnick said. The database allows officers to return stolen goods that have been sold to pawn shops and to make arrests, he said.
He added the third item suggested by Soglin will go toward maintenance at a training center for MPD.
Resnick said he supported the allocation of the funds, but $267,000 is a small amount compared to Madison’s annual budget, which is in the tens of millions of dollars.
“We face a very tight budget due to a dramatic cut in state aid,” Resnick said. “Any amount of money we receive will go back into the budget to fund necessary services.”
Resnick named two funding projects he hoped would be returned to the budget with the newly-received funds.
The first would be $20,000 to provide special clean-up during move-in and move-out season when leases turn over in August, Resnick said. He added this includes overtime compensation for workers and covers recycling and garbage pickup.
Resnick also said he would like the budget to allocate more funds to the Overture Center.
“This is a big concern,” Verveer said. “The Overture is a great attribute to Madison and an awesome resource.”
Verveer said students comprise a significant portion of attendees at Overture events, which include concerts and parties for student organizations. The Overture Center also offers employment opportunities for students.
City Council will take a final vote on the budget in the second week of November.