2024-05-16 Westside Community Connections: 2025 Budget Outlook

Please join us Thursday, May 16th for this month’s Westside Community Connections! This event will feature David Schmiedicke, Director of Finance who will give an overview on the general fund structural deficit, and the general parameters of the options we have available to us to address it. He will also provide information on where our City tax dollars go/value for our tax dollars, and cost of services. There will also be small group discussions and a notecard Q&A session. This event will be held in person at Vel Phillips Memorial High School in the Wisconsin Center room.

Registration is not required but strongly encouraged. Those who register will receive updates and information leading up to the event. Register HERE!

Westside Community Connections Flyer_English
Conexiones Comunitarias del Lado Oeste Volantes _Español

The Office of the Common Council is holding multiple budget engagement events in Madison that will give residents an opportunity to learn more about the state of the budget as well as share with their alders what is important to them. These discussions will be deliberative and facilitated. If you cannot join us on Thursday, May 16, you have three more opportunities to participate. See list of events below:

Westside Budget Engagement Event (Westside Community Connections):
Thursday, May 16, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (in person)
Vel Phillips Memorial High School, 201 S Gammon Rd, Madison, WI

Southside/Near Westside Budget Engagement Event:
Wednesday, May 29, 5:30 p.m. (in person)
Goodman South Library, 2222 S Park St, Madison, WI, Meeting rm 115

Central (Downtown/Campus/Isthmus) Budget Engagement Event:
Thursday, May 30, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (hybrid)
Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Madison, WI, Conf Rm MMB 215

Northside Budget Engagement Event:
Wednesday, June 5, 6 p.m. (in person)
Black Hawk Middle School, 1402 Wyoming Way, Madison, WI

All events are listed on the Common Council webpage. For more information visit: www.cityofmadison.com/council or contact the Office of the Common Council by email at council@cityofmadison.com or by phone at (608) 266-4071. To learn more about the 2025 City budget outlook, please visit www.cityofmadison.com/finance/budget/2025/outlook.

2024-05-07 City of Madison Newsletter

Vaccinate Against Measles  On April 26, 2024, Public Health Madison Dane County reported one confirmed case of measles in Dane County. This person was infected during domestic travel, not in Dane County. Measles is a very contagious virus that spreads easily and rapidly through coughing and sneezing. If you are unvaccinated, simply being in the same room with someone who has measles is enough to get infected. Learn more here
Mayor’s Message Now that winter is behind us, I would like to take a moment to celebrate and highlight the vital work the Streets and Urban Forestry Division does for all Madisonians. Their work for us really blossoms this time of year! The vehicle operators, arborists, and laborers show great dedication to help make Madison a beautiful and clean city.  Here’s a quick rundown of just some of what they are doing this spring: The ever popular Streets Division drop-off sites expanded their hours on April 1. These expanded hours will stay in effect until December. The Urban Forestry section’s spring planting will put well over 1,000 trees in terraces throughout all of Madison. Brush collection is underway. Click through to check when it’s coming to your neighborhood! And spring yard waste collection will start in your neighborhood soon, too. They’re filling potholes (so please report them if you find them so crews can fill them quickly). Streets Division sweepers have been circling the city since early March to gather up the accumulated debris on the roads to prevent it from entering the stormwater system and flush out to our lakes.  And, of course, many other things like cleaning graffiti from public areas to collecting trash, recycling, and scheduled large items every day. I continue to be impressed by the hard-working people of the Streets & Urban Forestry Division. Day in and day out, their work and commitment provides all of us services we rely on for our homes and our city.
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Engage on the Budget  The City is facing a significant budget shortfall that will impact services. What City services do you value the most? What is your vision for the future of Madison?Join us to discuss the budget, learn more about the services the City provides, and share your thoughts with elected officials. See upcoming meeting dates and details here
Free Metro Youth Passes Again this Summer Recently Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Madison Metropolitan School District Interim Superintendent Lisa Kvistad held a press conference to announce Metro’s fourth annual free summer youth pass program for Madison residents. As part of Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s MetroForward initiative, the summer youth pass program provides free rides to students from grades 6 through those just graduating from high school. Distributed in MMSD schools near the end of the school year, passes make it easier for students to get to jobs, athletic camps, the homes of friends, the pool and more. In 2021, there were approximately 38,000 rides taken using the pass, in 2022, there were about 41,00 rides taken. Last summer, more than 138,000 rides were taken on these passes. Complete information is available at mymetrobus.com.
State Street Ped Mall Experiment Begins Once the Pedestrian Mall is opened May 8th, people are encouraged to capture the many made-for-social media sights and sounds using the hashtag #FlockToState and tag musicians performing at the new busking location across from Concrete Park with the hashtag #MadisonIsMusic. A full summer’s worth of programming and performances are being planned for the Pedestrian Mall.  Because of the nature of State Street, with many local businesses not having alley or back door access for deliveries, prevents a full closure to traffic so the Pedestrian Mall, stretching from Gorham Street to Hawthorne Court, will be closed to all non-emergency traffic starting at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays, ending at 4 a.m. every day. Traffic will continue to flow normally on all cross streets even when the pedestrian mall is open, including on Gorham and Gilman Street.  

Madisonians from across the City participated on a beautiful Spring Day to support our local artists and begin the first steps of our #FlocktoState experiment this summer by painting inviting murals. 
Meet Your New Council Leadership The City of Madison Common Council announced the newly election council leadership as   District 10 Alder Yannette Figueroa Cole, who was selected by her peers to serve as the new president, and District 1 Alder John W. Duncan, who was selected as the new vice president. You can learn more about these Alders here
Property Tax Assessments vs Property Taxes Recently, property tax assessments were mailed to property owners in Madison, so we’re sharing some information about the relationship between assessments, taxes, and the City’s budget.

Assessments of a property are based on what similar properties are selling for – so they are heavily influenced by demand. Generally, if the assessed value of a property increases, the taxes for that property do not increase at the same rate or percentage. Assessments are supposed to be revenue neutral, so an increase in assessment does not necessarily correspond to an increase in taxes. Learn more here.
Body-Worn Camera Pilot has Begun  Last summer, the Common Council voted in favor of the 90-day pilot program for officers in Madison’s north district. An independent researcher has been hired to study the program and report his findings to department and city leaders. Learn more here
3 CARES Teams Serve Our Community CARES 3′ has officially been on duty Monday through Friday, 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM, for a month responding from the old Town of Madison fire station on Fish Hatchery Road. The addition of a third team allows the CARES program to expand its service capacity in response to ongoing demand.

Call data from Dane County Public Safety Communications (911) identified the busiest hours of the day for behavioral health emergencies occur between 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM weekdays. With CARES 3 on duty from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM weekdays, three CARES teams are now available to respond to calls for service during hours of peak demand. 

Since the program’s inception on September 1, 2021, CARES has responded to approximately 5000 calls for service. You can learn more about the service expansion here
Madison Reaches Solar Milestone The City of Madison is proud to announce that it has reached the significant milestone of 2 megawatts of installed and commissioned solar on its buildings and facilities.  This accomplishment creates momentum toward adding more solar installations across the community. It took 13 years for us to reach our first megawatt, and now we have reached our second megawatt in just five years. See the celebratory press event here
Food Scraps Program Returns to Eastside Market Food scraps recycling drop-off has returned to the Eastside Farmers’ Market. Individuals may drop-off certain allowable food scraps to a designated drop-off booth for free. Learn more details here
Madison a Tree City for 35 Years Madison’s first year recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA was 1989. We have received the award again this year, making it our 35th year being Tree City USA, and it is the 19th year we have received the Growth Award. Learn more about the award, or see what we do every day to support our trees.

Food Scraps Recycling Returns on April 30, 2024

Hello, Madison Recyclers

If you have signed up to receive news releases from the City, you already have this good news in your inbox, but just in case you haven’t done that…

Food scraps recycling is back for 2024! 

The first of three sites will open on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

This location will be the Eastside Farmers’ Market at 202 S. Ingersoll St within McPike Park.  It will be open from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.  

Food scraps drop-off will be free at this location every Tuesday evening starting on April 30 with the last day of this year being October 29, 2024.

And yes, I did say there will be three market sites this year. 

The other two locations will open up later this year and we will announce them when it gets closer to their opening time.  Stay tuned.

More details about food scraps recycling can be found at www.cityofmadison.com/FoodScraps

Thank you, as always, for your time and attention.

Bryan Johnson

Recycling Coordinator

2024-04-07 Westside Community Connections Redux

Thank you for joining members of the Madison Common Council for the April session of Westside of Community Connections. Alder John W. Duncan, Alder Nasra Wehelie, and Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney hosted Tom Lynch, Director of Transportation and Shanae Meacham, Outreach Specialist for Metro Transit, who talked about the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, including the cost of BRT, a timeline for when BRT will be in operation, and an update on vehicle and stop accessibility. You can find the powerpoint slides here:

If you missed last Thursday’s Westside Community Connections, you can watch the recorded session on the City of Madison Media Channel at the following link: https://media.cityofmadison.com/Mediasite/Showcase/madison-city-channel/Presentation/4d17667b9e7c4bf9995bfa7e7aedef5d1d. Please share this session with your networks and those impacted by the developing Bus Rapid Transit system.  

We very much appreciated all your questions during the Q&A portion of the session. If you have additional questions, feel free to send them to your respective alder who will forward your questions to the correct staff member. Please also feel free to email Metro Transit directly by email Mymetrobus@cityofmadison.com or by phone (608) 266-4466. 

The next Westside Community Connections will take place on Thursday, May 16th, 6:00-8:00 p.m. This session will be different in format and will be held in-person at Vel Phillips Memorial High School, 201 S Gammon Rd, Madison, WI 53717. Featured guest include David Schmiedicke, Director of Finance who will present on the 2025 City of Madison budget outlook and the general fund structural deficit. More information on registration for the May 16th Westside Community Connections event will be sent out shortly.

Have questions? Please contact:

Property Assessments

The 2024 property assessments are now available on the City website at cityofmadison.com/assessor. Assessment notices were mailed on Friday to all property owners and should have arrived yesterday Monday 4/22. If you have not received the card in the mail, please check online.

Open Book:

As per state statute, a period for “examination of the assessment roll” – what is referred to as “open book” – is provided. This period of time is an opportunity to discuss or dispute your property value and provide reason for changes.

The open book period began today Monday, April 22 and close Friday, April 26 at 4:30 p.m. From the assessor’s page click on “open book and assessment appeals” for important dates and instructions owners must initiate contact with the appraiser for their property in one of two ways:

After talking with the Assessor’s Office, owners who still feel the assessed value of their property is incorrect may file a formal objection. The deadline for filing an objection form (or providing notice of intent) is Friday, May 3 at 4:30 p.m.

If you have general questions concerning your assessments, please contact the Assessor’s Office at assessor@cityofmadison.com or (608) 266-4531.

2024-04-15 Updates from Alder Wehelie

Highlights for the Week of April 15, 2024

Boards, Commissions, and Committee Meetings

Note: This is not a complete list of meetings for this upcoming week. All meetings and their details can be found at the  Meeting Schedule page.

  • Common Council: The Common Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 16, in hybrid format at 6:30 p.m. The in-person portion will take place in Room 215 of the Madison Municipal Building at 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Agenda items include welcoming Lord Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda and delegation from Madison Sister City Kanifing, the Gambia, the election of Council President and Vice President, removing owner-occupancy requirements for accessory dwelling units, and a resolution affirming unwavering support for survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
  • Board of Public Works: The Board of Public Works meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 17, in virtual format at 4:30 p.m. Agenda items include authorizing the Board of Public Works to advertise and receive bids for 2024 playground improvements, awarding a public works contract for the Warner Park Dog Park Lot Resurfacing project in District 12, and authorizing the Board of Public Works to advertise and receive bids for 20 is Plenty.


From Alder Wehelie: Westside Community Connections

Please join me and my colleagues, Alder John W Duncan and Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney, for our monthly “Westside Community Connections” series. These informational sessions feature a different city agency each month and are designed to keep residents up-to-date on important news and developments affecting the Westside community. 

Tom Lynch, Director of Transportation, and Shanae Meacham, Outreach Specialist of Metro Transit, will lead this month’s meeting. To participate in the virtual Westside Community Connections session on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 6:00 PM, please register in advance at the following link: www.cityofmadison.com/westsidecommunityconnections.

There will be limited time for a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. We ask attendees to limit their questions to no more than one minute. Attendees can also submit their questions in advance to Lorissa Banuelos, Community Engagement Strategist, by email at lbanuelos@cityofmadison.com. Please include “Westside Community Connections” in the subject line.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at district7@cityofmadison.com

Looking forward  to seeing on Thursday.



MadiSUN Solar Program

Hello Stone Meadows Neighbors,

MadiSUN is the City of Madison program that makes going solar easy. Since 2016, the MadiSUN Group Buy Program has helped homeowners across the area install solar-electric systems on their rooftops. 323 households have gone solar thanks to the program’s simplicity, reduced price, financing options, and customer service.  

MadiSUN also offers solar incentives for businesses, nonprofits, and affordable housing providers. Check out madisunsolar.com to learn more about how to go solar!

-The MadiSUN Team

2024-04-08 Neighborhood News & Updates

DRAFT West Area Plan – Public Review Extended

Public review of the Draft West Area Plan is open until further notice. An updated project timeline will be posted to the  project webpage in the coming weeks and will include additional public engagement opportunities. Please  review and comment on draft maps and actions here. A full PDF of draft plan text and maps, including chapter introductions and appendices, is available  here. After the public feedback period, Planning Division staff will review input, meet with other city agencies, and prepare a fully formatted final draft of the plan, including photos and additional background info graphics, for City board/committee/commission/Council review and approval.

Madison Public Library Celebrates National Library Week

Madison Public Library is celebrating National Library Week online and at all library locations with a variety of activities including a “share your story” postcard campaign, the debut of a  Library Value Calculator, and the  Our Town Everywhere Exhibition & Celebration.

The theme for National Library Week 2024, “Ready, Set, Library!,” promotes the idea that in our always-online world, libraries give us a green light to something truly special: a place to connect with others, learn new skills, and focus on what matters most.

Be Part of the Future!

What’s your vision for Madison’s parks and open spaces? Madison Parks is updating their Park and Open Space Plan (POSP) and seeking input from area residents. Drop in at an upcoming Open House!

POSP Open House Drop-In Sessions

  • Thursday, April 25: Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Dr; Meeting Room
  • Thursday, May 2: Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave; Atrium
  • Thursday, May 9: Madison Parks Lakeside Offices, 330 E Lakeside St; Board Room

See  POSP for more information.

Make Music Madison (MMM) Registration Closes on May 25

The 12th annual MMM will be June 21, 2024, from 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. at a diverse array of performance locations including city parks, community centers, libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, and various public and private spaces.

  • Registration Closes: May 25th at 11:59 PM
  • Matchmaking Ends: June 1st at 11:59 PM
  • Venue Material Pick Up: June 10th 11 AM – 2 PM

Visit  MMM website for more information. Music “Performed by Anyone, Enjoyed by Everyone.”

RIDE the DRIVE returns August 11, 2024

It’s the return of parks and open streets! This year Ride the Drive Returns to Promote Health, Sustainability and Community Engagement. On Sunday, August 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., select downtown area streets and parks come alive with the spirit of community. Ride the Drive is a free, one-day rain-or-shine event promoting the use of alternative transportation with miles of open streets. By threading the route through six key Madison parks, we aim to connect the community, encourage outdoor activity, and foster a deeper appreciation for these green spaces. Each of the six Park Hubs offers activities for all ages, food, and entertainment.

To bring Ride the Drive to life, more than 400 volunteers will build the RTD volunteer crew, including nearly 300 Intersection Guides creating the largest team:  BECOME a VOLUNTEER . Sponsors play a pivotal role in transforming Madison parks into hubs of activity and joy for the day: BECOME a SPONSOR. Local businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs make the ideal vendor by enriching the event experience for attendees. As a bonus, most vendor fees are waived for this one-day event. Check out the vendor website for all the details and to register: BECOME a VENDOR.

To see the route and six park hubs, as well as register to be a volunteer, vendor or sponsor, visit ridethedrive.com.

2024-04-02 City of Madison Spring Newsletter

Nature Everywhere Brings Equity Outdoors
The City of Madison is proud to announce it is one of nineteen communities in the country selected to join the inaugural Nature Everywhere Communities initiative. The initiative is designed to increase equitable access to nature everywhere children live, learn, and play.
Mayor’s Message
I would like to re-introduce a landmark City of Madison financial assistance program – the first of its kind in the state of Wisconsin – the Madison Customer Assistance Program (MadCAP).
Being able to afford housing is an important issue in Madison. Paying for housing also means paying for utilities. The Madison Customer Assistance Program (MadCAP) helps reduce utility costs for eligible residents by providing up to a $30 monthly credit (discount) on their Municipal Services Bill. The MadCAP program credit spreads across all services on the Municipal Services Bill, including water, sewer, stormwater, urban forestry, resource recovery, and landfill. The credit is automatically applied monthly to customer bills and never has to be repaid. MadCAP’s objective is to keep the cost of living in Madison more affordable, especially for our most financially vulnerable residents, by providing helpful relief in the form of a monthly “discount” on their Municipal Services Bill. Households that meet eligibility criteria are qualified to receive the monthly bill credit. Residents that qualify for Section 8, Wisconsin FoodShare or SNAP benefits, or the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program would meet MadCAP’s income requirements. Similar to these programs, MadCAP eligibility is based on annual income and number of persons in the household.
Find out more about the Madison Customer Assistance Program (MadCAP) at cityofmadison.com/water. You can access the MadCAP application online. Complete and submit the MadCAP application form by email to: madcap@cityofmadison.com. Residents can also drop off the completed application, or mail it to 119 E Olin Ave, Madison, WI 53713. Please call (608) 266-4651 if you have any questions, or email madcap@cityofmadison.com.
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New Library Director
Tana Elias has been announced as the new Director of Madison Public Library.

Elias currently serves as the Digital Services and Marketing Manager at Madison Public Library. Elias brings 30 years of experience in various roles at Madison Public Library, where she has led rebranding and strategic planning efforts, managed staff and community engagement initiatives, and implemented innovative services and programs. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from UW-Madison, and is an active member of several professional associations and serves on a non-profit board in the community.
Make Madison’s Parks & Open Space Plan

The City of Madison Parks Division is updating its Park and Open Space Plan (POSP) and seeking input from area residents. The purpose of the POSP is to guide and inform public park policies and park facility decisions in the city of Madison.  
Brush Collection Begins   

The scheduled set-out dates for this year’s brush collection by the Streets Division have begun. Check your neighborhood dates on the Streets Division’s brush collection website.
North-South BRT Public Meetings
Metro Rapid Route B will be the second bus rapid transit route in the Madison area. The route will generally follow the current Route B, beginning on Madison’s Northside, traveling through the downtown area, extending into South Madison, and ending in Fitchburg. Learn more about BRT and the dates for upcoming meetings here
Take Metro Rider Survey On Board
Starting Monday, April 1, the City of Madison is conducting a Metro rider survey. Surveyors will be out riding fixed-route buses and asking Metro passengers to fill out a survey, which includes questions about themselves and their trip. Look for surveyors wearing yellow safety vests and ‘Field Surveyor’ ID badges. Learn more about the survey here
New Way to Pay Metro Fares

Metro is installing a new fare system that will make riding the bus faster, easier, and more convenient – the Metro Fast Fare Card. 
Features include:  Online accounts with reloadable smartcards Pay as you go – pay only for the rides you take & still receive discounts  Ticket vending machines at BRT stations Board and tap at any bus door when boarding at a BRT station Learn more about this new payment system. 
How to Ride Metro
Learn how to use Metro Transit’s fixed route city bus service at Lakeview Library. Topics include using Google Maps, the Transit app, and other digital options; paper schedules and phone service; and discounted fare options. Metro employees will answer your questions about bus travel and provide one-on-one assistance in English and Spanish. Tuesday, April 9 from 1pm to 5pm  Thursday, April 18 from 1pm to 5pm
Ask Metro Anything
Metro employees will talk about different options for getting around the city at Lakeview Library Tuesday, April 23 from 10am to 12pm, including buses, BCycles, bikes, and more. They will spend time talking about paratransit, a shared ride service for that uses a variety of companies and vehicles to respond to individual ride requests. Paratransit is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service for individuals with disabilities who cannot use Metro’s accessible fixed-route bus service. Metro employees will be available for one-on-one conversations in English and Spanish.
Spring Roll Challenge

RoundTrip, a transportation options program in Dane County, is launching the Spring Roll Challenge to encourage car-free and car-light trips throughout April. The Spring Roll Challenge is free and open to everyone 18 years and older in Dane County. The challenge rewards people for using sustainable transportation options and connects challenge participants with others doing the same thing.

The first 50 individuals to join will receive a starter prize pack, including a free slice from Ian’s Pizza, a 30-minute BCycle pass and a two-ride Metro Transit pass. Learn more here
Extended Drop Off Site Hours
Starting on Monday, April 1, 2024 the Streets Division drop-off sites at 402 South Point Road and 4602 Sycamore Avenue began their expanded summer hours. Learn more here
Third-Party Mental Health Transportation
The Madison Police Department will continue to use a third-party service for emergency detention transports to Winnebago Mental Health Facility. The department tested out this option during a pilot program last summer. After a program review, Common Council approval and a competitive selection process, services resumed on Friday. Learn more abou the program here