Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monona Budget Amendments for 2011 - Doing a Double-Take

Now that the Monona city council has completed its initial work review sessions of Mayor Kahl's budget, we alders get to weigh in with twelve amendments.

ADDENDUM: Maybe I should mention when the council will meet again, eh?

The council takes up the budget this coming Monday, November 1, 2010 at 7:30 PM at the media room in the Monona Public Library.

And I forgot to mention that there is always an Appearance section at the beginnning of the city council meeting and Monday's agenda includes a Public Hearing To Receive Public Input Regarding the Proposed 2011 Operating Budget and Tax Levy.


The entire budget is also on the city council web page.  

A ho-hum budget got a bit more interesting with a couple of amendments offered by alder Mike Veserat. All told (tolled?) the amendments would add $102,768.00 to the property tax levy for 2011. Most of that increase would come from a $78,000 increase due to alder Veserat's proposal to add a full-time Marketing Director. That one came out of the deep left-field - on the warning track - but hooking foul and out of play. Well, it's a new idea so let's hear what he has to say, but.... 

But Veserat's amendment that has created a buzz - as in a large herd of buzzing Africanized killer bees - is his proposal to cut a half-time position from the Mayor's proposed Parks/Recreation/Community Center/Outdoor Pool budget. To be fair, the Mayor proposed to increase an existing half-time assistant to full-time. Veserat is proposing to go back to the status quo in budget-terms. I oppose this amendment. Adding resources to his budget partly a reward for excellent performance by Park & Rec Director Jake Anderson and his staff. It is also a recognition of the demand for these services. We have discovered that if you offer good and varied rec programs and services, people will come in droves. 

And really, if you want to deal with angry parents, especially of young children, run for school board!

If both of these amendments go down, will alder Mike be in danger of becoming known as Warning Track Mike (i.e. he has "warning track power"). (Just having some fun, folks, don't get your skivvies in a knot. Go here to read about the puzzling origin of the term skivvies and here to learn why you should not tie a knot in your skivvies while wearing them - scroll to the comments.)

I offered three amendments totaling $28,300 for IT improvements (including new and upgraded software, website contract services). I propose to use fund balance reserve to pay for these items. That use would leave the city with a healthy 19% reserve.

Here is a summary of the proposed budget.

Monona City Council Budget Meeting 
Monday, November 1, 2010 at 7:30 PM 
Community Media Room in the Monona Public Library

 Public Hearing To Receive Public Input
Regarding the Proposed 2011 Operating Budget and Tax Levy

And leave your bees at home.


  1. Has Ald Veserat explained what he'd like the Marketing person to accomplish? It would be far easier to accept if there was a specific goal, as opposed to just promoting the city.

  2. Not yet, but he will ahve an opportunity to do so tomorrow (Monday) evening.

  3. Doug- Many thanks for opposing the half-time position cut in the P&R dept.

    Signed "One (of many) angry parent who loves the new and improved youth recreation program offerings."

    AKA Mike Meulemans

  4. Doug- Instead of spending $72,000 on a full-time marketing director why don't we amend Veserat's amendment by allocating $15- 20k to the Chamber of Commerce to do it, since its their function? The CofC can hire a consultant and save the city $50k + in the process. Just a thought...

  5. Doug!

    Please post on outcome of meeting! Many of us couldn't attend due to kids' stuff.


  6. It also seems that many of the train opponents took a very narrow view. I can't tell you how many times i heard, "I would never ride it!" So that means that no-one will want to ride it ever?

    I also think that most opponents didn't understand how it was being funded. They just assumed it was going to come out of their pockets. Well, now it really will because 10% of the money was to be used for infrastructure improvements that have to be done regardless of the train.

    I hope you enjoy the money Illinois and/or New York.

  7. I don't think what Ald. Veserat has proposed (full time marketing director) is completely out of touch, or out of whack. I also drive down our newly paved, "bringing sexy back" Monona Drive and see old, abandoned buildings screaming for new, fresh business ventures. Our community is being faced with possibly shutting down yet another school, people are turning away from moving into this community/or spending money here. I think marketing our community is a great idea. I also like the idea of leaving it up to the Chamber of Commerce to take it on as well, that is their purpose......

    On a side note, I actually inquired on one of these "old & abandoned" buildings on Monona Drive that is up for sale, and the price tag is an astonishing $999,999. The sad part is, I'm not exaggerating that price tag.