Madison Budget Has More Money, City Beaches Should Be Funded For Lifeguards


There has been many conversations over the past week surrounding the budget offered by Mayor Paul Soglin.  Among the controversial items were the cuts to beaches for lifeguards, and those effecting city ice rinks.

I have made it clear that the cuts to city beaches is truly unwarranted as this strikes at one of those quality of life issues that impacts large segments of the population.  When people think about moving to Madison one of the constant things they factor into the equation are the lakes, and opportunities to enjoy them.

I do not know how to swim,  but enjoy the lakes in other ways.  I know the value they provide to the folks who do swim, and therefore will be a continuing advocate for this matter until it is resolved.

Therefore I am pleased that the city has found, due to state aid revisions, more money.  With the additional $267,000 a portion should be used to make sure lifeguards are on duty at the beaches that are normally staffed.

I have commented on B.B. Clarke Beach, and the reason that this beach deserves lifeguards.  Without lifeguards there are questions about the removal of dead fish and lake weeds, the future of ‘the boom’ that prevents algae from impacting the beach, and if the diving board could still be placed in the lake.  On top of all that people are concerned about the use of the restrooms for those who use the beach and park.

Cleary there needs to be a change to Soglin’s budget, and the new money from state aid should, in part be used for city lifeguards.  I am heartened to hear Soglin talk about the uses for the funds from the state, along with the cushion that already is in the budget.

The mayor had already built a $500,000 cushion into the budget for the city to work with. Now, with the added state aid, the mayor said the Madison Common Council will have about $767,000 to work with, and he said council members have a number of options.

“Ranging from using some or all of it for Overture, for items such as restoration of certain beach and ice skating activities, as well as a couple of amendments that I’ll be sponsoring,” Soglin said.

City residents need to be in touch with both the mayor’s office, and their alder pressing for this matter.

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