The Madison Common Council's amendments to Mayor Paul Soglin's 2014 operating budget proposal will push the city about $291,000 over the state mandated levy limit.
However, Ald. Scott Resnick says many of those are likely to be duplicates and the council should be able to winnow the budget down to the appropriate limit.
Council members proposed 34 amendments, adding another $631,258 to the $198.1 million that the mayor had proposed raising through taxes in his $275 million budget. But the state limits the amount the city can raise through taxes to just under $198.5 million, meaning the council will have to find something to cut.
Four of the amendments are at or over $100,000, including an extra $150,000 for the Overture Center, $142,000 for more bus fuel to avoid service reductions, $110,000 for cost of living adjustments for community service agency contracts, and $99,000 to give Community Development Block Grant funding to three programs.
Ald. Mike Verveer says a lot of the debate will probably focus on funding for community services. "There's just a lot of need out there that the alders recognize."
However, Resnick says that many of these amendments are duplications and that the council shouldn't have too much trouble reducing spending.
Soglin, who hadn't yet looked at the amendments closely Friday afternoon, agrees. "Obviously, [the amendments] won't all be adopted," he says. "And it looks like some of them are duplicates."
Not all of the amendments will cost the city money. Some identified by Verveer increase revenue by hiking fees for things like liquor licenses and municipal court fees. Some amendments don't change the budget's bottom line at all and merely shuffle funding.
Verveer is confident that the extra funding for Overture will not cause the political fight it has in the past two years, when Soglin threatened to veto the budget because he thought it gave too much money to the arts center.