My thoughts on this year’s Capital Budget

Posted September 16th, 2008 @ 12:05 PM by

I said I’d do this last week . . . but alas . . . the best laid plans . . . sometimes “tomorrow” takes a little longer.

A few process items to note:
1. The first round of Capital Budget amendments are due Tuesday (today) at noon.
2. The first public hearing on the Capital Budget is Tuesday (tonight) at the council meeting. It’s item #5 on the agenda.

Besides the trends of borrowing more, budgeting more and reauthorizing more . . . here are the items I found of interest in the Mayor’s Capital Budget. The Capital Budget typically contains items that last more than 10 years and are of significant cost.

= $154,677,605.
Total Borrowing – $76,724,076 (49.6%)- $19,148,657 (reauthorized from last year’s borrowing) = $57,575,418

LIBRARY = $5,332,500
Borrowing = $4,750,000 (89%)

There are 4 library projects this year.
– South Madison Branch Library
– Monroe Street Library Branch Improvements (I guess it won’t be closed, or we can save some borrowing!)
– Pinney Branch Improvements
– Central Libary Planning at $1,700,000

I’m still appalled that we are doing this much work and spending this much money for only 2,000 extra square feet.

The $1.7M is a “guess” is what we were told.

The Library did not get everything they requested. The Mayor reduced the amount of money going towards Monroe St. Library ($50,000) and the Central Library ($300,000).

FIRE = $2,987,500
Borrowing = $2,933,100 (98%)

They have 6 projects.
– New Far West Fire Station
– Fire Equipment
– General Building Improvements
– New Far East Fire Station
– Computer Hardware and Software
– FEMA Grant

Turns out, that training facility that they couldn’t live without last year, isn’t needed any longer. Their current training facility is going to be available into the foreseeable future.

In 2011 there is going to be a large upgrade in the communications equipment that will also impact the police and traffic engineering budgets. In this budget it costs us $2M in 2011.

They also have $100,000 in HVAC work in the Facilities Management Budget and $1.4M in the Fleet Service Budget.

Finally, of note, the Fire Chief called the current 911 system “dysfunctional” when talking about communications.

The Fire Department got everything that they requested.

POLICE = $494,500
Borrowing = $274,500 (56%)

The police have 5 projects.
– Improvements to the North Side Police Station
– Tasers ($35,000)
– Building Improvements
– Software Upgrade
– Upgrade records management system

The police will be spending $3M in 2011 for the new radio/communications program.

The police have 137 tasers right now and this will add 41 more. They say that they need 300 tasers for events like Halloween. The couldn’t answer how many they needed during a typical shift. Instead, they just listed who needed them.

The police also have $1,942,875 in the Facilities Management Budget for the Central Police and Admin Offices.

The police got everything that they asked for except $64,000 for rifles.

PUBLIC HEALTH = $205,660
Borrowing = $160,660 (78%)

Public Health has 4 projects.
– Replacement of Lab Equipment
– Field Based Devices
– Environmental Health Move
– Computer replacement

The county will be matching some of this money.

The field devices are needed because according to a state average, we have 4.7 less nurses than we should have. Currently, we have 41.

We have 40 desktop and 22 laptop computers with defective motherboards that are no longer under warranty.

They didn’t get everything that they asked for, but the Dental Equipment and the Remodeling of the Front Desk Reception may be in the Operating Budget.

= $583,000
Borrowing = $60,000 (10%)

Only one project, replacing items on the Capital Square like benches, kiosks, lights etc to make them look like State St.

There were several project that were requested that were not funding including State St side streets, phase 2 & 3 plus Maintenance Equipment Replacement.

Borrowing = $0

They had three projects.
– Building and Improvements (Replacing windows and a new Marquee by M&I Bank)
– Machinery and Equipment
– Network Infrastructure Upgrade

All of the funding comes from the Room Tax. As a result of them using the Room Tax, they pay cash and there is no interest on borrowing.

They got everything that they requested.

Borrowing = $5,059,000 (95%)

They had many projects including:
– Hardware and Software Upgrades
– Network Security
– Property Assessment System
– Enterprise GIS
– Enterprise Financial System
– Mobile Computing Laptop Computers
– Purchased Software Enhancements
– Expand Fiber and Wireless Network
– Enterprise Land and Asset Management System
– Printer replacement

Some of this money is for the police and other departments.

They did not get everything they requested. There were reductions in hardware and software upgrades, the Enterprise GIS system, the Enterprise Financial System and Printer replacements and there was no funding for the Police Scheduling System and the Enterprise Contract Management System.

There are 5 projects here that are not funded for the following reasons:
– There was no information about what funding was needed for the Henry Vilas Zoo
– The Election Equipment won’t be purchased until 2010
– The Reverse Mortgage Program, the General Land Acquistion and Property Assessment System are all being considered in the Operating Budget.

= $5,618,395
Borrowing = $5,298,395 (94%)

The follow projects are funded:
– ADA Accommodations
– Energy Efficiency Improvements
– Development Services Center
– Police Central and Admin Offices
– City Attorney’s Office
– Fairchild Building
– City County Building – Council Chambers
– Building Improvements
– City Treasurer’s Remodel
– Renewable Energy
– City-County Building Improvements
– Madison Fire Dept. HVAC
– Human Resources Office Remodel

Generally speaking this budget includes all buildings except Police, Fire, Library, Monona Terrace and Overture. But then again, the lines are a little blurry.

The Development Service Center – the “One Stop Shop” that I tried to cut out of last year’s budget because we knew that there was interest in purchasing the building didn’t get spent, but it appears here again this year . . .

This department has an unusually high amount of reauthorized dollars. There’s the $1.6M for the One Stop Shop, the $1.9 for the Central Police, $300,000 for City Attorney’s Office and $200,000 for the Fairchild Building. That accounts for half the budget.

The $600,000 for remodeling the Council Chambers is being shared by the county so we are only paying $300,000. I don’t believe we’re finally going to do this because we have been talking about it since 2001 when I got on the council.

The money for City-County Building Improvements is just a placeholder and may change with the County’s budget.

There was some thinking that the remodel of the Human Resources Office could be fixed by putting up some signs.

It looks like the Mayor cut money for the remodel of Central Police, but the difference between what they asked for (3.9M) and what the Mayor gave them ($1.9M) is the amount that they are able to spend this year.

Two projects not funded were the Public Health Remodel and the Police Furnishings.

SEWER UTILITY = $12,868,650
Borrowing = $0

This budget includes the following projects:
– Sewer with reconstructed streets
– In place sewer rehabilitations
– Additions to the Collection System
– Lift Station
– Improvements to Sewer Study Areas
– Hoard Area Sewer Replacements
– E Washington Sewer Replacements
– Felland Area Sewer to Nelson Rd
– Lower Badger Mill Creek Sewer
– Sewer Access Improvements
– Replacement Vehicles & Equipment
– New vehicles and equipment
– Basement Back Up Elimination Program

This budget also had a 6 projects that were reauthorizations.

The other funding from these projects comes from Sewer Utility Reserves or revenue bonds.

One project was not funded. It was the Engineering Service Building.

= $64,366,000 (That’s not a typo.)
Borrowing = $29,210,000 (45%)

This is about 1/3 of the entire Capital Budget.

You really have to take a look at this list to find out if the streets you are looking for are in there. The biggest projects are as follows:
– East Washington Ave – $16,460,000
– Monona Drive – $7,940,000
– Heopker Rd – $2,960,000
– Cty Hwy M – $2,400,000
– Campus Drive – $2,530,000
– University Ave – Campus to Broom – $2,180,000
But obviously, the list goes on . . .

Two things of interest to most neighborhoods that got cut were the Neighborhood Traffic Management (Traffic Calming) (went from $200,000 to $50,000) and the Pedestrian Improvements on Major Streets (went from $150,000 to 50,000).

You’ll have to look on pages 73 & 74 to see what was requested but not funded. The biggest item is Lien Rd ($2,840,000).

This is one of the few budgets where the Mayor put in more money than what was requested.

Borrowing = $2,720,800 (79%)

Projects funded here include:
– Public Drinking Fountains
– Sidewalk Program
– Street Right of Way Landscaping
– Tree Installation
– Aberg Ped/Bike Overpass
– Bikeways
– Capital City Trail
– Cannonball Bike Trail
– Underground Storage Tanks
– Sherman Flyer: Huxley Cut Off
– Central Park
– GIS Software Migration

Projects that were requested but not funded include Tenney Park Improvements, Country Grove Ped Bridge & Path and Engineering Service Building Additions. There was $2.6M requested for Central Park but they only got $250,000.

Borrowing = $6,767,000 (75%)

You’ll have to take a look at these projects as well. There’s more than 20 projects.

There are also two projects on page 89 that were not funded as requested.

FLEET SERVICE = $4,983,000
Borrowing = $2,983,000 (60%)

Projects include:
– Replacement equipment
– Facility Upgrade
– Fire Equipment
– Fuel Dispenser Upgrade

Right now we have 1100 vehicles. We have 100 passenger cars after you subtract the police vehicles and there are 350 pieces of major equipment.

I’m not sure why their facilities upgrades are not in the Facilities Management budget.

The Replacement Equipment and the First Equipment did not get as much money as was requested.

PARKS = $4,082,000
Borrowing = $2,222,000 (54%)

The projects funded here include:
– Assessable Trees
– Olbrich Botanical Gardens
– Conservation
– Park Equipment
– Parks Facility Improvements
– Park Landscaping
– Parks Matching Fund
– Neighborhood Park Improvements
– Parks Paving
– Development Fee Projects
– Specific Park Improvements
– Breese Stevens
– Tenney Shelter
– Street Tree Inventory

Three projects that should have been reauthorized (James Madison Park, Peace Park and Warner Park Mallards Stadium) were not included by the Mayor. It’s allegedly an oversight that the Mayor should be correcting.

They are not making any changes to the Brittingham Picnic Shelter.

There are several projects on page 99 that did not get as much as requested.

STREETS = $1,597,000
Borrowing = $1,597,000 (100%)

There are 4 projects:
– Lighting – Sycamore & Badger
– Equipment
– Buildings and Grounds
– Badger Storage and Annex

There were two projects that were presented as alternatives. The Badger Storage and Annex was chosen over the Far West Facility.

There were 4 projects that were not funded including Cart Storage Barn, Remodel Office Area at Badger, Mezzanine Construction at Sycamore and the Far West Facility mentioned above.

METRO TRANSIT = $4,168,100
Borrowing = $833,620 (20%)

Three projects were funded:
– Transit Coaches
– Building Remodel and Expansion
– Transit System Upgrade

The Fairbox system was not funded.

Again, I don’t know why these building improvements aren’t in the Facilities Management budget.

The Transit Upgrades includes another $160,000 for security cameras.

They got everything that they requested, the fairbox will be funded in 2010.

= $1,444,000
Borrowing = $505,000 (35%)

Here’s the projects funded:
– Street Light Infrastructure
– URD/UCD Street Lighting
– Public Safety Radio System
– Traffic Safety Infrastructure
– Traffic Engineering Building Improvements
– Ped/Bike Enhancements
– Traffic Signal Infrastructure
– Improved Lighting for Library Mall

The Traffic Engineering Budget has more in the Fire and Police Radios with $2M in 2010, $5M in 2011 and $7M in 2012.

I’m not sure why Building Improvements are here instead of Facilities Management.

Three projects were delayed to 2010 including Wingra Creek Warehouse Equipment, Sign Retroreflectometer and replacing a large format digital plotter.

PARKING UTILITY = $2,598,000
Borrowing = $0

The projects funded include:
– Parking Garage Repairs
– Shop Building Repair
– Madison Municipal Building Parking Garage
– Parking Revenue Equipment
– Madison Municipal Building Remodeling

This budget provided a choice between building a parking ramp on the Brayton Lot, the Municipal Building Lot or tearing down the Government East garage and building a new garage. The current Government East lot has 511 parking spots. If they build the Madison Municipal Building, there is only 59 more parking stalls planned and it will cost $1.2M to plan and $14.5M to build. The City would end up with only 70 parking stalls, which is an increase of only 30 more than it has now in the surface parking lot.

The building improvements are in this budget because it is money we don’t have to borrow.

The other issue is the Parking Meter Equipment that will take credit cards instead of coins. I’m not so sure that this equipment is worth it as what we get charged by the credit card companies eats into the revenue that we make. Do we need to raise parking fees due to credit card use?

Borrowing = $11,340,000 (94%)

Projects funded include:
– Preliminary Planning
– Allied Drive TIF ($1.3)
– Todd Drive TIF
– Capitol Gateway TIF
– Badger/Ann/Park TIF ($3M)
– Stoughton Rd TIF
– Municipal Art Fund
– TIF 10% Program
– Villager Redevelopment
– Urban League Economic Development
– Downtown Plan
– Senior Center Building Improvements

Several projects from this budget were moved to the Operating Budget. Those projects include funds in the Home Buy, Housing Rehab, Homebuyers Assistance, Scattered Site Fund, Facade Improvement and Brownfields Funding. These projects are all funds that are revolving or were funded with an infusion of cash at one point. The statements of the balance of these funds will be in the operating budget like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The only project here that is attributed by staff to the CDA is the $5,708,000 for the Villager Mall now and then $7.1 M in 2011. There is also $1.4M for a Truax project in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Projects not funded included the list transfered to the operating budget plus, Truax was delayed a year, Allied drive got $.5M less, State St. TIF wasn’t funded, Public Market, the Economic Development Facilitation Fund, Customer Service Feedback System, Business Retention/Expansion Campaign, Incubation Feasibility Study, Fiscal Impact Benefit/Cost Model and they didn’t even request money to revise the Economic Development Plan any time in the next 5 years.

The Villager and Senior Center got more money than they requested.

Ald. Schumacher brought up the obvious, that we talk about Economic Development but nothing was funded, at the same time that we are taking more from the Room Tax.

= $12,832,900
Borrowing = $0

The Water Utility projects include:
– Lead Pipe Replacement
– Meter Program
– Water Main replacements
– New Water Mains
– SCADA system upgrade
– Femrite Drive Unit Well
– Filter for Well #8
– Booster Station for Todd Drive
– Raymond Road Reservoir
– East Isthmus Well
– Near West side Well
– Security Upgrades
– Sustem Wide Miscellaneous Projects
– Misc Pump Station and Facilities Projects

They got everything that they requested.

$0 in borrowing is because the Water Utility pays for these costs from rate payers and Water Utility bonds. So, when they give away land, they have to find other ways to pay for things.


BASSETT – I see we aren’t funding any “Small Cap TIF” projects to get people to convert rentals to owner occupied housing.

ALLIED – Suddenly has money where we have it before. Funny how we can make things work if the right people want to.

MONROE/TRADER JOES – There was some discussion about why this is so poorly performing. The developer is going to have to pay any shortfall in the TIF payments if they don’t sell more condos soon. When this TIF was set up, the developers were pushing for the calculations to be more agressive and the City was trying to be more realistic and it turns out the City’s calculations are closer to reality and as a result, the developer may have to pay.

That’s it. The Capital Budget in all its glory. Our soaring borrowing continues, our reauthorizations continue and the Mayor is continuing the trend.

Categories: | City Budget 2009 | James Madison Park

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