Madison council passes 2020 budget with money for independent police auditor

Madison police car 1.jpg

MADISON, Wis. - Madison Common Council has approved the budget for 2020, including funding for an independent police auditor.

At the start of the meeting Thursday, the money for the position was in question as two alders sponsored an amendment that would strip the funding.

Alder Paul Skidmore, District 9, who sponsored the amendment, said he wanted the city to figure out how the implementation of the position would go before allocating the funding.

"The devil's in the details," Skidmore said. "That's why we want to do this now rather than later because I'd say there's some potential landmines in the position."

Skidmore was one of three alders to vote in favor of the amendment – or against funding the auditor – while 17 alders voted against the amendment – or in favor of funding the auditor.

"This is an opportunity for us to do something that would be very impactful," said Christian Albouras, District 20, during the discussion that preceded the amendment's passing.

The police auditor was the main recommendation of the Police Policy and Review Ad Hoc Committee created after Tony Robinson was shot and killed by a Madison police officer.

Matthew Braunginn was part of the ad hoc committee, and he said people worried about the cost should consider what is saved.

"It looks like it fights in tight but if you want to talk about saving money, we're talking about saving money through civil lawsuits through better operations of our police department," he said.

On Wednesday, council approved money for three additional police officers.

The final capital and operating budgets total more than $500 million and include funding for an additional ambulance (though no staff to run it), programming for Warner Park Community Rec Center and a new traffic signal, among other allocations.

The adopted levy is approximately $15,000 below the levy limit.