Madison City Services Consider Cuts

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

With the unhooking of a ceremonial fire hose, cheers rang out and trucks rolled in.

Standing before a firehouse full of people, Chief Debra Amesqua says, "this is a great day to be a firefighter, a paramedic, a member of the fire department staff, and the fire chief in Madison, Wisconsin."

While Fire Station 11 is state of the art, it already has a big problem.

"The state budget puts us in the strange position of being able to open this new station, but then providing us with no new resources for the $1.4 million it will cost to run this station," tells Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

Another place where budget cuts can be felt is on the site slated to be Madison's East side police station. The project is meeting road blocks.

"We will take into account the possibility of delaying it to save some resources. It is not something I want to do. It wouldn't be my first choice," says the Mayor.

Breaking ground on the site soon had been a hope, but the budget bind has the Mayor turning to departments like police, fire, and health, which make up 41% of the city's budget, and asking them to reduce their base budgets by 3%.

For the police department that could mean less recruits and more cuts.

"Based upon growth projections and annexation we would be looking at 31 officers," says Chief Noble Wray.

The Mayor does not want to be out officers, but he does need to cut $3.5 million to keep city services running. The city budget will not be out until October. Between now and then he will be looking for solutions and taking comments from the public.

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