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Madison city budget includes $139,000 decrease funding for city attorney’s office

The city of Madison’s approved 2021 operating budget includes a $139,000 decrease in funding for the city attorney’s office.

The Madison Common Council approved 2021 capital and operating budgets on Wednesday night. The $349.5 million operating budget and $166.4 million capital budget will result in a 2.37% tax-levy increase.

The city attorney’s office saw a $139,000 decrease in funding in the 2021 operating budget. The reductions will be made by:

  • Turning a vacant full-time assistant city attorney position into a part-time position, resulting in a $28,000 reduction
  • Eliminating a vacant legal secretary position, resulting in a $77,500 reduction
  • Eliminating fall hours for the law clerk program, resulting in a $20,700 reduction
  • Reducing costs for furniture, printing and printed book costs to save $13,000

The office’s 2021 executive budget allocates $2,920,682 to the city attorney’s office. The agency had requested $3,175,435. The 2020 projected budget is $3,367,237.

The municipal court budget also includes a 5% reduction in costs. It eliminates $12,000 in overtime to “reflect current trends.”

The budget assumed $430,000 in revenue from court fees, which is consistent with the 2020 adopted budget. The total general fund support for the Madison Municipal Court is up by 3.6%, because of expenditure increases.

The operating budget also includes a $725,000 COVID-19 fund to help the city respond to emerging matters, including a sudden increase in evictions. In addition, it fully pays for the Civilian Oversight Board and Office of the Independent Police Monitor to improve policing policies and procedures.

In a statement, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said it was a difficult budget for the city, as it started with a $16 million deficit because of COVID-19. Achieving a balanced budget required service changes and reductions, employee furloughs, the use of the city’s rainy day fund and fee increases.

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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