Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


BOE denies fund increase

Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, District 12, voted against the amendment to add $500,000 to the Overture’s financing in the 2012 budget. She said she could not vote in confidence to support the funding, although she agreed with its basic principles, because other areas of interest in the city need more attention at a time when the city has very limited funds.[/media-credit]

Members of a city commission voted against an amendment to increase funding in Madison’s budget to the Overture Center by $500,000 after a lengthy debate Monday night.

The Board of Estimates considered this and multiple other amendments to Mayor Paul Soglin’s operating budget during the meeting.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, who sponsored the amendment for increased funds for the Overture, vigorously argued his reasons for support.


” … I think it is absolutely without question in my mind the right thing to do to provide this increased funding,” he said. “The private sector cannot make up cuts to the Overture Center.”

Verveer said he believed the city had a commitment to the Overture Center, and he emphasized the effect it had on the quality of life in general.

Betty Harris Custer, a lifelong Madison resident, came to the meeting to voice her support for the increased funding. She also spoke about the benefits it would have added to the overall quality of life in Madison.

“The free and reduced cost programming – as well as the partnerships with schools – help us to reach some out in the next generation of artist(s) and audiences,” she said. “We need the city to stand with us.”

Steve Fleischman, director of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, also expressed his support for the amendment. He said he believed its failure would have a direct impact on other facets of life in Madison.

“By removing a large gash of money, you indirectly and unintentionally affect every other nonprofit in the city,” he said. “The money comes from somewhere, and it will be spread more thinly for everyone.”

Ald. Brian Solomon, District 10, voted against the amendment. He argued the increased funding would not necessarily guarantee the success of Overture in the future.

He said he made his decision not because he did not support Overture, but because he felt there were more pressing issues.

Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, District 12, also decided to vote against the amendment. She said she too felt there were more important issues to address in the city’s budget.

“I can’t say ‘yes’ to this and ‘no’ to other amendments,” she said.

The board also began debating an amendment to add $100,000 to library collection materials.

Ald. Bridget Maniaci, District 2, who sponsored the amendment, felt the library needed the funds urgently. She admitted the city was in a tough financial situation, but she ultimately felt the funding would be beneficial.

Because of the complex nature of the amendment, Soglin suggested the board address the amendment at a later meeting. Members agreed with his recommendation and referred the item.

They will discuss the issue further Nov. 7.

Members of the board also unanimously approved to allocate $88,892 for the creation of a job development specialist position. This person would work to create jobs for low income individuals.

Madison community members and board representatives said the new position could help reduce rising poverty rates in Madison.

The City Council will make final decisions regarding the operating budget in the coming weeks.

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