The Madison City Finance Committee met Monday night to discuss potential changes to the 2018 executive budget, of which $456,070 was being contested.
The proposed executive budget highlights economic mobility and totals $3,835,000.
At Monday’s meeting, the Finance Committee debated 22 items.
The most contentious item of debate was the $250,000 allocated within the budget for funding a violence prevention program through the Madison Public Health Agency. The agenda called to remove the entirety of funding for the program.
The specifics of the Violence Prevention program were not thoroughly detailed in the 2018 budget proposal, so committee members, such as Ald. Barbara Harrington-McKinney, District 1, were more inclined to cut the $250,000 funding to the program.
At the time, Mayor Paul Soglin said the intricacies of program were still being discussed.
Soglin said this initiative is very important to the safety of the community and was “well thought-out” by the professionals who drafted the finalized budget. The specifics of this program will be determined once the 2018 budget is officially initiated.
“While these funds are not yet classified into a certain field or domain of the government, we assume it will be under Public Health as violence is viewed as a hazard to health,” Soglin said.
The amendment to defund the Violence Prevention Program failed in a 5-1 vote.
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Madison Fire Department chief Steven Davis also spoke in length about the amendments. General funds for the Special Teams Training through the fire department had $55,335 allocated in the original budget.
Davis also discussed a fire data analyst position which was allocated $62,460 and a fire recruitment process which was allocated $65,775, all of which were passed within the committee. These amendments were unaltered without much argument.
Davis requested an additional $45,000 from the budget to be allocated toward overtime for the special team’s employees salaries. This proposal was moved to be voted on at a later date.
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Assistant chief of police, Susan Williams, requested an addition of $400,00 to the Madison Police Department for an increase in 15 working police officers while the city awaits results on a federal grant request.
“We feel that the MPD could really utilize extra officers in the field, for the city’s safety and for our peace of mind,” Williams said.
Committee members voted 4-3 against this amendment.
The budget is set to be officially voted on in November.