The city of Madison will soon be taking applications for a part-time preservation planner.

At the March 6 City Council meeting, Mayor Damon Welch recommended that the city fund the position of preservation planner for the remainder of the year. He appointed a committee to explore options for the position in the future.

Funding for the full-time position was created when nearly $30,000 of bridge construction mitigation money became available to fund the position.

Welch said that funding the position for the eight-month extension of the position should cost around $20,000. The long-term future of the position would then be up for discussion during the 2014 budget process.

"The community deserves an opportunity to make a judgment during the normal budget process about where this ranks and how much they want to spend on it," committee member Kevin Kellems said. "As opposed to inheriting a windfall from the bridge mitigation funds and assuming that that should remain current. That is without public input."

The committee, comprised of Jan Vetrhus, John Staicer, Bob Schoenstein, Kellems and Darrell Henderson, convened for the first time Tuesday to review the job description for the position and recommend any changes they would like to see added.

"This has been one of the hot topics in the community, since back during the budget process, when obviously we turned down the funding for the position," Henderson said. "Both sides are very vocal on this."

"It's been a challenge on the council to figure this out."

The council decided to stick with a similar application that current preservation planner Camille Fife had to complete.

Fife's responsibilities as preservation planner include assisting the city by spreading information about heritage conservation, culture and heritage tourism, acts as the city's liaison with local, state and national preservation organizations, maintaining Madison's Certified Local Government status. She also handles applications for grants related to historic preservation.

Committee members will review the job requirements before advertising the position in the surrounding areas. The deadline to apply will be April 5. The committee will reconvene on April 8, at 5:30 p.m. to review the applications.