Soglin hosts forum seeking public input on city budget

As preparations for Madison’s 2016 city budget get underway, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is hosting a public forum to help align city spending with citizen priorities.

The meeting is intended to gather as many voices as possible on how to distribute city funds.

“The purpose of the meeting is to engage the community and give them some understanding of what the city’s facing with budget constraints and levy limits,” Katie Crawley, an assistant to the mayor, said. “[We’re trying] to collaborate with them, partner with them to do some brainstorming.”

In a practice exercise, meeting-goers will be asked how they would allocate $1,000 across various areas of spending, like public safety and neighborhood development, according to Laura Larsen, the city’s budget and program evaluation manager.

Budget meetings like this one have been commonplace during Soglin’s third term as mayor. Soglin, as well as many alders, plan to attend the meeting.

“We’re doing it [now] prior to the budget coming out [in November] so that as the mayor is really weighing the decisions of how we’re going to allocate the dollars in ’16, we can be using the context of what we heard from citizens,” Larsen said.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, July 14 at 6 p.m. in the Central Library.