Madison's operating budget approved - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison's operating budget approved


Madison (WKOW) -- Madison's $238 million operating budget got the go-ahead Thursday morning by the city's Common Council.

  In the budget, a 50-cent bus fare increase and a 3.3% tax increase were controversial issues that ended up passing.

  Madison Metro bus rides will cost $2.00, up from $1.50 after the budget goes into effect.

  Mayor Cieslewicz approved the passage, issuing the following statement afterwards:  "In such tough economic times, we must recognize that our citizens are facing the same financial woes as the city. So I'm glad to say the Council has adopted a budget tonight with the lowest increase in taxes on the average home in my six budgets - an increase that is below the 30-year average.

  "The largest single change the Council made tonight was the reinstatement of positions related to weekly large item pickup. Although I regret this decision from a fiscal and environmental standpoint, I am pleased the Council's largest change to my budget relates to the basic services the city provides.

  "From the challenges we faced when we began this budget in July, we have come to a very good outcome, and I believe we've achieved the original goals I set out. Against a challenging fiscal backdrop, we won't enact large tax increases and we won't make draconian cuts to city services.

  "This budget also positions the City well for what may be another difficult budget in 2010. Economic recovery won't happen overnight, and by not dipping too deeply into our fund balance or using one-time revenues, this budget takes responsible steps to secure our financial future in the most challenging economy in decades.

  "I want to commend Council leadership and the entire Council for taking part in a congenial, respectful budget process and the thoughtful debate that dominated it. Certainly, that is something we can all be proud of."

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