A look at the city's budget
Morning update: Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021
In this newsletter
Happy Wednesday, Madison!
So, uh, you may have noticed we had a bit of a technical hiccup yesterday. Some folks didn't receive the newsletter in full and we were told by our friends at Facebook that the issue was likely a residual effect of the platform's outage earlier this week.
Fingers crossed that it doesn't happen again! The good news is, if you missed yesterday's newsletter, you can still read it here.
One more thing about yesterday's newsletter: I wrote that "the city has officially extended its indoor mask mandate through Nov. 5."
While it's 100% true that the mask mandate has been extended, it was the county, not the city, that issued the mandate. My mistake.
Now to the news.
💰 A look at Madison's 2022 budget.
- Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has released her proposed $358.6 million operating budget for 2022. The operating budget dictates how much the city spends on its departments and services, not to be confused with the capital budget, which funds major projects like new buildings and transit.
- If adopted, the budget will result in a 1.1% property tax increase — about $34 for the average homeowner.
- Here are some of the major highlights of the mayor's proposed budget:
- The town of Madison: As the city prepares to annex the town of Madison and gain 5,000 new residents, the mayor has allocated $1.4 million to address the need for equitable services. From the Cap Times: "Her proposal also includes a new “community connector” position to connect with Spanish-speaking residents. Over 27% of the town of Madison’s population is Hispanic compared to 7% in the city."
- Public safety and violence prevention: About a quarter of the total budget — $84 million — will go to the Madison Police Department. $600,000 will go to the Community Alternative Response Emergency Services program (or CARES), which sends a paramedic and crisis worker to respond to mental health emergencies. Rhodes-Conway also included $1 million to help implement the Madison Dane County Violence Prevention Roadmap.
- Affordable housing: It's no secret that the isthmus is in desperate need of affordable housing. The mayor's proposed budget includes $6.6 million to expand low-cost housing options. She also plans on using federal funding to help address housing needs.
- Diversifying the workforce: $1.5 million would provide a 1% pay increase to help close the wage gap for city workers.
🏈 New names on campus.
- Starting in 2022, UW's football field will be called Barry Alvarez Field at Camp Randall Stadium. Doesn't that just roll right off the tongue?
- UW's natatorium, better known as “The Nat,” will be replaced by a new fitness facility named after Jim and Sue Bakke, who donated $20 million to the project. The space will be called Bakke Recreational and Wellbeing Center and is set to open in 2023.
🥡 Dane County restaurants lost 44% of its workforce during the pandemic.
- That compares to a 22% loss statewide, Wisconsin Restaurant Association President Kristine Hillmer told News 3.
- Related: Many restaurants have found success in "pandemic pivots," like One Barrel brewery now offering barbecue, or Wando's selling apparel.
🤰 SSM Health will continue to offer its midwife services until it finds a more sustainable model.
- Some context: Earlier this week, SSM Health announced it would end its current midwife services by the end of the year, shifting all programs to OBGYN providers.
- Now, the health care provider says it will keep the service in place until it finds a new, sustainable model, Channel 3000 reports.
👩🏾⚕️ The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is welcoming its first-ever director of DHS Office of Health Equity.
- Dr. Michelle Robinson will begin her new role Oct. 25 in the Office of Health Equity where she will "lead work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within the department while also coordinating the development and implementation of policies and programs to address root causes of health inequities," Madison365 reports.
🌼 Olbrich Botanical Gardens has a new director.
- The city announced Tanya Zastrow has accepted the position, bringing 18 years of experience with her. She takes on the new role starting Nov. 1.
🏗️ Bring on the developments.
- Subtext Development of St. Louis, Missouri, wants to demolish buildings along North Basset and West Johnson Streets to make way for a 12-story housing project that would bring 140 to 150 apartments (plus parking), the State Journal reports.
- The building will be called "Subtext" (literally WHO comes up with these names?!) and has not yet filed an official land use application. But if approvals are secured, construction will start in fall of 2022 and be completed in the fall of 2024.
♿ Your lunchtime read: Students with disabilities face disappearing accommodations in return to UW campus.
- From Cap Time's higher education reporter Kayla Huynh: "For students with disabilities or those who are immunocompromised, the reentry into classrooms has brought feelings of isolation, anxiety and helplessness — contrary to many students who have embraced the return."
🎃 Obligatory animals-playing-with-pumpkins-because-it's-fall post.
🦠 Covid-19 Resources
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 54%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 71.2%
Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.
Are you eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna? Find out here.
📅 Events: Wednesday, Oct. 6
- Food cart night at North Star Park. 5-8 p.m. Free. Food carts include Cultura Cali, Jakarta BBQ Station, Vengan Pa'Ka, and Cool Sweet Treats.
- Author talk: “We Will Always Be Here” with Jenny Kalvaitis and Kristen Whitson at Monona United Methodist Church. Book “explores the rich and diverse history of LGBTQ+ activism in Wisconsin.” Virtual option. 6:30 p.m. Free.
- “Ema” screening at MMoCA. From IMDb: “A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.” 7 p.m. Free for members and those 18 or younger, $7 for non members.
- '90s Pop Culture Trivia at Bierock. 7 p.m. Free.
- Author talk: "Madison in the Sixties" with Stu Levitan. 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Storytime in the Park at Elver Park with Madison Public Library staff. 6:30 p.m. Free.
- “Jumanji: The Next Level” screening at Elver Park. From IMDb: “The gang is back but the game has changed… players will have to brave parts unknown from arid deserts to snowy mountains, to escape the world's most dangerous game.” 7 p.m. Free.
- Presentation: "Winged Sentinels: How Birds are Coping with Climate Change." Virtual and in-person at the UW Biotechnology Center. 7 p.m. Free.