Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and the City of Madison Finance Committee met for eight hours Monday night to discuss the proposed $340.0 million 2020 Executing Operating Budget.
The list of proposals being discussed included 25 amendments. Amendment 25c, which proposed adding 12 police officers to the Madison Police Department, received the most attention.
Amendment 25a proposed adding three officers and 25b proposed adding six.
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This increase in officers was opposed by some of the community members who addressed the committee, including community member Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores.
“We do not need more officers, we need more training,” Kilfoy-Flores said. “We don’t need more cops, we need better cops.”
Community members who were in favor of adding 12 officers said MPD officers have been treated poorly by the community and the proposal.
Supporters, including community member David Blaska, said there is a need for more police officers to protect places around the Madison area and intervene in the opioid crisis.
“We more need more EMTs and firefighters and we need more police officers,” Blaska said. “Police officers should and do feel insulted — they told me so.”
After voting, the committee decided not to allocate budget funds for amendment 25a. Since amendments 25b and 25c were even more expensive to execute, they were automatically voted down.
Amendment 14 proposed removing police auditor funding. As a result, jobs related to monitoring the actions of MPD officers and the department could be affected.
The majority of the community members who spoke on amendment 14 expressed opposition, including community member James Morgan.
“If this is not funded, that equates to being said to this community, ‘you don’t matter,’” Morgan said. “This is not about color … This is not just about safety on State Street. This is about safety for this entire community.”
Amendment 14 also failed to pass.
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After a swift unanimous vote, the Finance Committee voted and passed a memorandum allowing UW Police officers to write certain citations as City of Madison ordinance violations.
Amendments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 16, 17b, 18, 19 and 21 passed while the remaining items on the budget were denied.