Thursday, November 13, 2008

Budget 15:41

As of 2:07 AM, the city of Madison has a working budget for the year 2009 after 15 hours and 41 minutes of discussion.

Through the amendment process, the council added $465,000 to the levy tonight, for a grand total of $165.3 million. For the average Madison homeowner, the property taxes they pay will increase 3.3 percent.

The property tax levy will be 8.29 percent higher than it was last year, but Alder Judy Compton was still encouraged, in light of prior projections that the levy could increase between 12 and 15 percent. She called the council's efforts "heroic."

The budget passed 16-4, with Alders Brenda Konkel, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Marsha Rummel and Robbie Webber dissenting.

"It's going to have a big impact on people throughout the city," Konkel said, "and there's just no way I can vote for a budget that increases the bus fares."

Alder Brian Solomon, who co-sponsored the failed amendment to prevent the bus fare increase, was displeased, but voted for the budget. He said, ultimately, it's still up to the transit commission whether or not fares will actually increase.

"We did not pass a bus fare increase," Solomon said, "We just passed a $642,000 deficit to Metro."

Alder Tim Bruer spoke at length about the 2010 budget, and the challenges he expects the board to have to overcome next year. He maintains the city comptroller's office paints a more dire picture for what's to come.

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