MADISON, Wis. -

Members of Madison’s Board of Estimates passed a proposal Monday allowing for a $3 million tax increment to finance a new housing and fire department development project.

The money is part of a $70 million project for a new apartment complex connected to a new office building for the fire department on the 300 block of West Johnson.

The proposal, introduced in May, is controversial because tax money is involved and it would go toward a public building.

But Mayor Paul Soglin says he’s looking forward to what the project would bring to the city.

“It’s going to add significantly to the amount of housing in the city of Madison,” said Soglin. “It’s going to add to the tax base. It’ll have a retail element and it’s going to solve one of our major problems, in terms of locating our fire administration downtown right next to fire station number one.”

The proposal still needs to make it through the common council before becoming official.