Mayor calls for new vehicle fees, police auditor in 2020 budget proposal

Mayor Rhodes-Conway announcing the 2020 budget proposal Tuesday.
Mayor Rhodes-Conway announcing the 2020 budget proposal Tuesday.(NBC15)
Published: Oct. 1, 2019 at 6:07 PM CDT
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Madison Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway released her $634 million operating budget for 2020 Tuesday.

The budget proposal features a new vehicle registration fee and an independent police auditor position, introduced at the Goodman South Madison Library Tuesday.

A $40 per vehicle fee would be implemented within the first quarter of 2020, projected to make $7.9 million for the city. That money would go in part to fund the mayor’s infrastructure and transportation projects.

If the budget is approved, Madison residents would pay the $40 fee on top of the state of Wisconsin’s $85 registration fee.

The 2020 budget includes funding for an independent police auditor, who will focus on accountability in the Madison Police Department's internal investigations.

The Madison Police Department Policy Procedure & Review Ad Hoc Committee recommended the position, which would cost the city $200,000. The mayor said the position would report to her.

The mayor's announcement came just days after former Madison Police Chief Mike Koval resigned, and Vic Wahl became acting Chief.

that one of the reasons he announced his retirement when he did was to put an interim chief in a strong position to understand the department’s 2020 budget.

Rhodes-Conway said she is funding several of the department's requests, but the budget does not include money to hire new officers, a priority for Koval.

The budget also has funding for more officer training on how to interact with people in mental health crises, and wellness check-ins for officers themselves.

There is no funding to increase staff, but Mayor Rhodes-Conway said she has encouraged the department to apply for "COPS" grants from the U.S. Department of Justice. Those grants could help fund new officers.

"I already can tell you that interim chief Wahl and I have a good relationship, we’ve talked multiple times since he stepped in and I expect that to continue,” Rhodes-Conway said at a press conference Tuesday.

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