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Learn about City of Madison, Wisconsin, including Featured News, Key Projects, and The Team.
Consistently ranked one of the best places to live in America, Madison offers all the amenities of a large city without all the hassle. Not only is Madison the state capital and home to the state flagship university, it is a thriving and growing city that invests in talent, research, jobs, and culture. Nestled between two lakes, with a total of five lakes within the city’s vicinity, Madison is a naturally beautiful city with a variety of outdoor activities for every season. The city facilitates a range of cultural events year-round and takes advantage of its many parks for art, food, and musical festivals.
To learn more, please visit the City website here.
Tonight the Madison Common Council approved the 2022 Capital and Operating Budgets after three evenings of deliberations. The Council adopted a $354,244,062 Capital Budget and a $360,321,028 Operating Budget.
“This was another difficult budget season given revenue losses caused by COVID-19 and a structural budget deficit all local governments in Wisconsin face due to severe limitations on our ability to raise revenue imposed by the State Legislature,” said Mayor Rhodes-Conway, “I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the Biden administration and Congress for passing the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). With the support of ARPA funding, we were able to adopt a fiscally responsible balanced budget that meets the needs of our community and keeps tax increases low.”
The Mayor is pleased that Council has continued to show strong support for City priorities, including:
“Taxpayers will be pleased to know that we accomplished all this while holding the property tax increase to the lowest level in many years. The 15-year average levy increase for City government has been 4.1 percent. This year, it will be 1.2 percent, the lowest in twenty years.” said the Mayor.
The Community Development Authority of the City of Madison (CDA) has selected a redevelopment partner to help lead a public-private process to revitalize and/or redevelop a major site within its public housing portfolio in an area of the near west side of the City known as “the Triangle.”
Comprised of five separate sites and roughly 340 units, the CDA wishes to begin detailed planning for a phased, long-term approach that will replace or substantially upgrade every unit at the Triangle within the next 5-10 years. To this end, the CDA sought statements of qualifications during summer 2021 from leading regional development teams to provide master planning services, assist City staff in leading a robust public and resident engagement process, and develop a strategy for the completion of site wide redevelopment objectives.
After a thorough review of team submissions by City/CDA staff, the CDA Board of Commissioners ultimately selected Madison-based New Year Investments (NYI) at its October 14 meeting as its preferred Triangle redevelopment partner in the management and implementation of what is expected to be complex, multiphase redevelopment process. NYI is a women-owned real estate development and brokerage firm drawing on more than thirty years of combined experience shared between its two principals, Anne Neujahr Morrison and Sarah Neujahr. NYI’s focus is on the creation of thoughtfully designed, mixed-use urban-infill properties in Madison. Both principals of NYI are also shareholders of Urban Land Interests, a family-owned asset management company founded in 1974.
New Year Investments is currently working on the redevelopment of the former Ella’s Deli restaurant site located on the East Washington Corridor, with 100% of units in the Ella Apartments affordable to low and moderate-income households. The Ella Apartments were financed with a combination of Tax Exempt Bonds, Federal Low Income and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and utilizes a complex financing structure similar to what is expected for redevelopment of CDA’s units at the Triangle.
“The Triangle is a special place. It’s an affordable community in the heart of our city, rich with history and opportunity. Our entire team is committed to ensuring its sustainable future,” says Anne Neujahr Morrison, Principal at NYI.
The developer and its team will provide professional services related to the planning, application and project development process for repositioning of HUD-financed public housing, including expertise in other financing, leveraging, and financial planning tools such as LIHTC. Other redevelopment team consultants will include a number of leading Madison-based firms, including EQT By Design community engagement/equity specialists; Potter Lawson as master planners and architects; and Saiki Design landscape architects. Baker Tilly will also be engaged to help the CDA convert housing units under HUD’s repositioning tools, access other affordable housing financing options and navigate the development process successfully by recommending the best project financial structure.
Following negotiation of a developer’s agreement, the CDA expects to formally kick off the planning and visioning process for the Triangle in early 2022.
Moody’s Investor Service has continued Madison’s Aaa bond rating with a stable outlook. The rating is for the $93 million in tax-exempt general obligation bonds and notes for capital projects and $54.8 million of taxable and tax-exempt general obligation refunding bonds and notes that will be issued by the City next week. This is the highest possible rating an issuer can receive. It affirms the city’s sound financial and budget management, conservative debt repayment structure, stable economy relative to the state and nation, and solid general fund reserves.
“The COVID pandemic of the past roughly 18 months has increased economic concerns nation-wide, and it is very gratifying that Madison continues to receive is Aaa Bond Rating. This rating acknowledges our City’s long-term stability, commitment to sound financial management, investment in sustainability and resilience, and the strength of our cultural and business climate,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “It has not been easy, but I know that my office, City staff and the Common Council will continue to work cooperatively to serve Madison by exercising prudent fiscal management.”
Moody’s cited a stable and diverse economy, sound financial operations and a history of healthy reserves and cash balances as well as manageable debt and pension burdens among the city’s strengths. Analysts noted however that challenges include strict levy limits that reduce the city’s revenue raising flexibility for operations, as well as impacts of economic conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The service also noted that sound financial operations benefit from strong budgetary control and stable reserve levels. They report that the city’s sound financial profile is expected to continue due to the presence of healthy reserves.
The rating confirms market confidence in the city’s economic condition and the Mayor and Council’s fiscal management. Moody’s identified four conditions that could change the rating downward in the future – significant increases in debt and associated debt service, weakening of the city’s tax base and resident income levels, material declines in operating reserves and liquidity, and weakened financial conditions for the city’s utilities.