Madison, Wisconsin

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Madison, Wisconsin
Madison Seal.jpg
General information
Paul Soglin 2011.jpg
Mayor:Paul Soglin
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:April 7, 2015
Next mayoral election:2019
Last city council election:April 7, 2015
Next city council election:2017
City council seats:20
2014-2015 FY Budget:$275 million
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:243,344
Gender:50.8% Female
Race:White 78.9%
African American 7.3%
Asian 7.4%
Two or More 3.1%
Ethnicity:Hispanic or Latino 6.8%
Median household income:$53,958
High school graduation rate:94.8%
College graduation rate:53.3%
Related Madison offices
Wisconsin Congressional Delegation
Wisconsin State Legislature
Wisconsin state executive offices
Madison is a city in Dane County, Wisconsin, and is the capital city of Wisconsin. As of 2013, its population was 243,344.[1]

City government

See also: Mayor-council government

The city of Milwaukee utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.


The mayor serves as the city's chief executive, and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels. Paul Soglin is the current Mayor of Madison.[2]

City council

The Madison City Council - called the Common Council - is the city's primary legislative body. It is also responsible for approving and adopting the city budget.[3]


The city council consists of twenty members, who go by the title of "alders." Each alder is elected by one of Madison's twenty districts, which can be seen on the map below.[4] See here for a full list of current city council members.

Madison Districts.jpg

Advisory boards

A series of advisory boards and committees that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Madison City Council. The roles of these boards and committees are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[5]

For a full list of Madison's boards and committees, see here



See also: Madison, Wisconsin municipal elections, 2015

The city of Madison, Wisconsin, held nonpartisan elections for mayor and city council on April 7, 2015. In races with more than two candidates, a primary took place on February 17, 2015. These included the races for mayor and Districts 1 and 14. The top two vote-getters in these races advanced to the general election. The filing deadline for candidates who wished to run in this election was January 6, 2015. All 20 city council seats were up for election.


Madison's adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2014 was $275 million.[6]

Contact information

Office of the City Clerk
Room 103
City-County Building
210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4601

To contact the mayor's office, see here

To contact Madison's city council, see here.


Main article: Wisconsin government sector lobbying

In 2013, Madison's federal lobbying related expenses amounted to approximately $30,307.[7] The issues for which the city filed in 2013, as well as the number of reports, can be seen in the box below. The issues column lists the generic issues that lobbyists working for local governments are required by law to disclose on quarterly federal disclosure forms.[8][9] The reports column gives the number of reports lobbyists filed in regards to each generic issue. To learn more about the details of the specific issues for which Madison filed reports, read the federal disclosure forms by clicking the "Issues" links in the box below. For a list of lobbyists registered with the city of Madison, see here.

Federal Lobbying Issues, 2013
Reports Issues
1 Economics & Econ Development
1 Housing
1 Urban Development
1 Hazardous & Solid Waste

Ballot measures

See also: Dane County, Wisconsin ballot measures

The city of Madison is in Dane County. A list of ballot measures in Dane County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Wisconsin

The city of Madison's initiative process follows Wisconsin state law.

Issues in the city

Tony Robinson shooting

High school students in Madison marching along E. Washington Ave. with a "Black Lives Matter" banner following the death of Tony Robinson.

On the evening of March 6, 2015, a Madison police officer shot and killed an unarmed black 19-year-old named Tony Robinson. As of March 10, 2015, details on the shooting remained murky. In accordance with Wisconsin state law, the state’s Department of Justice was responsibile for investigating the incident.[10]

The shooting came in the wake of a larger national conversation about race, violence and police in the United States as well as growing concerns about racial disparities in Madison itself. In 2013, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families released a report that detailed several key differences between the lives of black and white residents of Dane County, the county that includes and surrounds the city of Madison. The report found that African-American residents in Dane County are 5.5 times more likely to be unemployed than white residents. Similarly, black youths are six times more likely to be arrested than white youths.[11]

Robinson’s death put a spotlight on these issues; and amidst large-scale demonstrations throughout the city and national media attention, racial inequality moved to the forefront of Madison’s 2015 general election.[10] Mayor Paul Soglin and mayoral challenger Scott J. Resnick have both commented on Robinson’s death and the larger issue of racial inequality in official statements, at public demonstrations and in interviews with the media. Soglin released an official statement in the Wisconsin Gazette on March 9, saying:[12]

We all deserve to know the facts in this case. Tony Robinson’s family deserves that, our community deserves that, and the Madison Police deserve that. When the answers come, we will be open and transparent in communicating them … The City of Madison, our police officers, our community, and I must and will keep moving forward with compassion, with understanding, with a commitment to facing the facts, finding the truth, and making necessary changes to ensure this great City is always more equitable and just.[13]

After a community meeting on March 7, Resnick struck a similar tone, telling reporters:[14][15]

We rested on our laurels. We said the city of Madison was not New York City. We said that we were not Ferguson … City Council members were talking about issues like this last night, about what we can do as a City Council to take the first steps. The reality is, there are structural issues with the entire system. You take a look at the racial inequalities that are in the city of Madison, we need to change.[13]

On March 27, state authorities leading the investigation turned their files over to District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who will decide whether or not to charge Officer Matt Kenny in the shooting. The records from the investigation will not be made public at least until Ozanne makes the decision.[16]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Wisconsin city websites
Budget Y
600px-Yes check.png
Meetings Y
600px-Yes check.png
Elected Officials Y
600px-Yes check.png
Administrative Officials P
Permits, zoning Y
600px-Yes check.png
Audits Y
600px-Yes check.png
Contracts P
Lobbying N
600px-Red x.png
Public Records P
Local Taxes

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 14 years.[17]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 7 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 7 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[18]
    • Meeting video is available.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[19]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[20]
  • Building Permits and Zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[21]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[22]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 1998 are available.[23]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[24]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by the City Clerk position. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[25]
  • Local Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[26]

The bad

  • Administrative Officials
    • Personalized emails are not provided for all administrative officials.
  • Contracts
    • Approved contract statements are not available for vendors above $10,000.
  • Lobbying
    • If the city engaged in lobbying actives or if it's a member of government lobbying associations are not disclosed, nor is the total cost of lobbying activities or membership dues for associations available.
  • Public Records
    • Public records request form and fee schedule not provided.

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on August 18, 2014
  2. City of Madison, "Office of the Mayor," accessed on August 18, 2014
  3. City of Madison, "City Council," accessed on September 22, 2014
  4. City of Madison, "Common Council: Members," accessed on August 18, 2014
  5. City of Madison, "Committees," accessed on August 18, 2014
  6. City of Madison, "Madison, WI FY 2014 Adopted Operating Budget Summaries," accessed on August 18, 2014
  7. Open Secrets, "City of Madison, WI," accessed on August 18, 2014
  8. U.S. House of Representatives: Office of the Clerk, "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance," accessed on November 11, 2014
  9. Open Secrets, "Methodology," accessed on November 11, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Vox, "What we know about the police shooting of unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson in Madison, WI," March 9, 2015
  11. Race to Equity: A Baseline Report on the State of Racial Disparities in Dane County, October 2, 2013
  12. Wisconsin Gazette, "Madison Mayor Soglin statement on death of Tony Robinson," March 9, 2015
  13. 13.0 13.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  14. Capital Times, "Community meeting on death of Tony Robinson draws hundreds," March 7, 2015
  15. WKOW, "Protesters stage march at shooting scene, vow continued activism," March 7, 2015
  16. Wisconsin State Journal, "Tony Robinson shooting investigation will be turned over to district attorney on Friday," March 24, 2015
  17. City of Madison, "Budgets," accessed on November 18, 2012
  18. City of Madison, "Meetings," accessed on November 18, 2012
  19. City of Madison, "Elected Officials," accessed on November 18, 2012
  20. City of Madison, "Agencies," accessed on November 18, 2012
  21. Madison, Wisconsin, Zoning, Accessed: November 18, 2012
  22. City of Madison, "Permits," accessed on November 18, 2012
  23. City of Madison, "Audits," accessed on November 18, 2012
  24. City of Madison, "Bids and RFPs," accessed on November 18, 2012
  25. City of Madison, "City Clerk," accessed on November 18, 2012
  26. City of Madison, "Treasurer," accessed on November 18, 2012