While the recalls and events at the state level have garnered our attention and actions since February, it's time to take a break and do a little work on behalf of our hometown. Madison mayor Paul Soglin is holding a series of five hearings on the city budget so we can tell him what gets cut and what can't be touched. The budget charts are understandable and a example of great visual design, too. But this is not just about money; it's about our core values: mine, yours, the neighborhoods where we live and the city's.
"This year, as you think about the upcoming city budget," says Soglin on the city's budget website, "please go deeper than individual lines items — consider what values are important for our city and how these values should be expressed in the services that the city provides for individuals, neighborhoods and the city as a whole."
The budget site explains these core values in detail: Responsibility, Social Justice and Community Services, Public Spaces and Community, Growth and Economic Development, Sustainability and Planning, and Basic Services and Daily LIfe. There will be five community meetings at five different locations around town where you will be able to hear about and speak to the issues of concern to you and your neighbors.
The meetings and topics are:
Tues, July 26, 7-9pm
Topic: Community Development & Services
2222 S. Park St, Suite 200
Mon, Aug. 1, 7-9pm
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave
Tues, Aug. 16, 7-9pm
330 W. Mifflin St
Mon, Aug. 22, 7-9pm
Topic: Large Community Facilities & Parks (Recreation)
Orchard Ridge UCC
1501 Gilbert Rd
Wed, Aug. 31, 7-9pm
Topic: Public Safety
Warner Park Recreation Center
1625 Northport Dr
Go to the Budget Conversations Page to see what items are included in each category so can attend the one that covers the topics that interest or concern you the most. "Large Community Facilities & Parks (Recreation)," for example, includes two subjects of particular interest to me: Olbrich Botanical Gardens and the public library. Monona Terrace and the Overture Center are also under that heading.
And if you can't make it to a meeting in person, you can still make your voice heard by filling out an on-line survey. This is an easy survey but it will take a bit of time if you want to think about the implications of your answers on the community and do more than make quick check marks. If "all politics is local," it doesn't get more local than this!
Artwork from the city budget website.