Madison mayor highlights COVID-19, violence prevention in 2022 City budget proposal

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 8:55 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison’s mayor unveiled the city’s 2022 budget Tuesday, proposing how much the City should spend on its departments and services.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s 2022 Executive Operating Budget highlights the continued need for funds relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, equitable city services for Town of Madison residents as they transition to be city residents and violence prevention efforts.

“While Madison is not immune from national trends around gun violence, reckless driving, and the economic hardships of COVID-19, there is also reason for hope,” Rhodes-Conway said.

The mayor cited the city’s high COVID-19 vaccination rate, the beginning of an economic recovery and a low unemployment rate.

“State and federal administrations have delivered unprecedented aid to cities, allowing us to get on the path to recovery sooner,” added Rhodes-Conway.

Rhodes-Conway noted the budget includes a 1% pay increase for general municipal employees.

Town of Madison transition

Rhodes-Conway noted the importance of providing equitable services for Town of Madison residents that will soon be City residents.

Over 27% of the town’s population identifies is Hispanic/Latinx and 13% identify as Black, compared to 7% and 7.3% respectively in the city.

To address equitable services, Rhodes-Conway has proposed funding to add staffing and supplies to City agencies, as well as funds for city-wide services that add to the newly attached area. This includes adding 10 new firefighters and a position in the Department of Civil Rights to promote outreach to Spanish-speaking residents.

Violence prevention, public safety effort

The mayor stated that through her proposed budget, it will further the City’s effort in preventing violence. She has allocated $600,000 to the Community Alternative Response Emergency Services program, which provides a paramedic and crisis worker to respond to mental health emergencies.

She has also set aside funds for the Madison Police Department, including its Independent Police Monitor and Police Civilian Oversight Board.

The mayor has also dispensed over $1 million for the Madison Dane County Roadmap to Reducing Violence, which is a coalition of nonprofits, government agencies and community members that create best practices for intervening in violence.

Affordable housing

With the pandemic still going on, the mayor noted there are still affordable housing needs to prevent eviction and address homelessness.

This funding includes over $6.5 million to expend housing choice programs, $1 million to reduce barriers for tenants in the renting process and $2 million for homelessness services.

Growing a diverse workforce

The City of Madison is working to expand on its workforce, including through the Green Power solar trainee program that works to train underrepresented individuals in how to install solar panels, among other responsibilities.

Rhodes-Conway included funds for similar programs in other Public Works Areas, including in the Engineering Division, Parks Division and Streets Division.

Rhodes-Conway will present her 2022 budget during the Madison Common Council meeting Tuesday night. NBC15 is listening in to the meeting and will update this story with any developments.

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