After nearly nine hours of debate, the more than $300 million 2018 executive capital budget and more than $500 million operating budget were approved early Tuesday by the Madison Common Council.

The council adjourned close to 3 a.m.

The executive capital budget was announced by Mayor Paul Soglin Sept. 5, with a focus on improving the city’s infrastructure and maintaining roads and parks. The operating budget was announced in early October.

The council rejected an amendment to reduce local funding for the Madison Public Market in a vote of 15 to 5.

Community members present for the public hearing stressed the importance of continuing to fund the Madison Public Market, which serves as a forum for aspiring entrepreneurs to create and sell their products.

Public market development committee member Jeff Glazer said the market is more than just a physical space — it’s also an entrepreneurial development system.

“The public market is a place where people can go to bring their ideas to life,” Glazer said.

Another member of the committee, Barry Orton, said the amendment would kill the market and would stop the momentum of the program.

Ald. David Ahrens, District 15, however, said the adoption of the amendment to reduce local funding would not be the end of the public market. While providing an entrepreneurial path is a good idea, Ahrens was concerned about the market would not be self-supporting in the coming years and would need further funding from the council.

Soglin focuses on city infrastructure, projects in 2018 capital budgetWith a focus in replacing the city’s infrastructure, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has committed $326.1 million to the 2018 capital Read…

Ald. Amanda Hall, District 3, pointed out that while this market requires funding, it has taken significant steps forward in the last year.

“It takes commitment, work, and in a situation like this, it takes funding,” Hall said. “The market has made incredible strides in the last year. We’ve got vendors, designs, floorplans — the ideas are there.”

Hall also mentioned how women and minorities benefit from the public market. Sixty percent of the market’s applicants are women, 30 percent are black and 30 percent are first generation immigrants, Hall said.

Unlike Foxconn, the market won’t take 25 years to see the return investment, Hall said.

“This market matters to Madison, and it works for Madison,” Hall said.

The council also approved an amendment part of the capital budget that removed funding for a body camera pilot program in a vote of 17 to 3.

Madison’s proposed budget will include body camerasMadison officials voted 4-3 Monday in favor of increasing the proposed 2018 capital budget that will allow for the addition Read…

Ald. Denise DeMarb, District 13, said the money needs to be taken out of the budget because it’s a premature discussion. DeMarb said the evidence she’s seen is inconclusive of if body cameras are worth it or not.

Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, was one of the members who rejected the amendment and wanted to see a pilot program implemented. Skidmore said opponents of the amendment are under the assumption that a pilot program means a commitment to a full program, which is not the case.

“A number of alders have brought up the impact on sensitive populations — what about domestic instances, what about sexual assaults, what about different populations that might be negatively impacted — which are all reasonable questions, and they would be answered through a pilot project,” Skidmore said.

City finance committee amends big-ticket items within 2018 executive budgetThe Madison City Finance Committee met Monday night to discuss potential changes to the 2018 executive budget, of which $456,070 Read…

The 2018 operating budget included 10 amendments. The operating budget will increase spending by 4.8 percent, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. 

An amendment approving $90,000 to provide homeless programs and services passed unanimously.

Also part of the operating budget was an amendment that would add $400,000 to add 15 additional police officers, with the help of a 2017 federal COPS grant which the city has yet to hear back on.

Paula Fitzsimmons, cofounder of We Support the Madison Police Department, said having an understaffed police department means everyone is in more danger. She said the amendment is a good start but there is still a lot of work ahead to make sure police know they are being supported.

“Cops need to know the council, the mayor and the community have their backs,” Fitzsimmons said.

The council approved the amendment in a 14 to 6 vote, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.