Mayor Paul Soglin put forth a number of amendments to the 2013 city budget less than a week after City Council members introduced their own changes.

At a news conference Monday, Soglin introduced 16 amendment proposals in a press conference, two key issues being the elimination of the $.25 bus fare increase and additional funding to the Overture Center.

Soglin’s spokesperson Katie Crawley said the mayor has been negotiating with the City Council, but the two have not yet come to an agreement on his 2013 operating budget amendments.

Crawley said Soglin also proposed to allocate $150,000 for the Overture Center and another amendment for a possible $350,000 more. She added Soglin requested an open book policy with the Overture Center so the institution would be completely transparent for the city, something that is currently not the case.

“He’s trying to put together a package that can be adopted without too much pain and agony,” Crawley said.

Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said $350,000 of Soglin’s proposal depends on a sum of private contributions from the reconstruction of Lisa Link Peace Park, which the city covered after the fundraising was not reached.

Soglin’s original proposed budget released in October totaled $266.4 million. His current proposals would increase spending by 5.86 percent, totaling $267.6 million.

Fundamental disagreements remain about the Overture, but the council appears to support restoring its funding closer to this year’s total of $1.85 million, he said.

President Pro Tempore and Ald. Chris Schmidt, District 11, in partnership with Council President Shiva Bidar-Sielaff and 14 other council members, proposed adding $900,000 for Overture, bringing its funding to $1.75 million.

Schmidt and Bidar-Sielaff also authored the amendment eliminating the bus fare increase.

Schmidt said he and Bidar-Sielaff presented their amendments to the mayor last Tuesday but were unable to come to a compromise. 

“He didn’t accept them,” Schmidt said. “He suggested alternatives, but we didn’t find them acceptable.” 

The council leader’s amendments would bring the budget total to $276 million, an increase in spending of 5.62 percent, Bidar-Sieleff said.

Resnick said he is glad to see both the City Council and mayor’s office agreeing bus fare increases are not appropriate at this time.

This may impact expansions the metro had in mind, but Resnick called this a “great compromise.”

The mayor will put his amendments on the table at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, according to Resnick.
He said Schmidt and Bidar-Sielaff’s amendments need 11 votes to pass, a number he believes will be reached. However, this means the mayor will probably veto the budget, he added.

If the budget is vetoed, members would call an emergency council meeting in the following weeks, during which the council would either reach a compromise or the mayor’s veto would be overturned, Resnick said. 

Bidar-Sieleff said 14 votes are needed to override a veto, which at this point she is confident the council can achieve.

Resnick said budget meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday if needed.

Based on previous experience, Schmidt said tomorrow’s meeting will likely be public testimony, which could last several hours, before the council even gets into discussion.

Schmidt said despite a disagreement on Overture funding, it is worth pointing out the mayor and council both agree on the majority of the budget’s content. 

Cammy Albert contributed to this story.