My fellow County Board Supervisors and I just finished the extensive process of completing the 2016 Dane County Budget. The process starts with the County Executive proposing his budget, Supervisors proposing amendments, numerous committees voting on whether or not to support the proposed amendments, and then the Personnel and Finance Committees reviews all of the proposed amendments. The budget amendments that the P&F committee approves then go before the entire Board of Supervisors for the final budget vote.
The 2016 Budget proposed by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is over $572 million.
The Personnel and Finance Committee, of which I am currently a member, had to consider budget amendments that totaled more than $1.6 million. Due to the state imposed levy cap, only $500,000 was available for funding items proposed by County Supervisors. Many tough choices had to be made. The Operation and Capital Budgets that P&F committee approved reflect the priorities of elected officials representing the progressive values of Dane County.
The budget and amendments that the entire Dane County Board of Supervisors approved on November 16 provides or increases funding in the areas of criminal justice, housing, equity, human services and the environment.
As described by County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, “Budgets are about priorities. Changes made to the Dane County Budget by County Board members reflect our core principles of partnering with the community to ensure that all Dane County citizens have the opportunity to be successful.”
The 2016 Budget as amended by the Dane County Board of Supervisors includes:
- Criminal justice
- Funding to collect and analyze more and better data on people in the system
- Funding to train criminal justice personnel on equity issues
- Funding to study adult and juvenile diversion programs
- Additional $30,000 to operate the Homeless Day Resource Center
- $2 million for affordable housing as called for by last year’s budget
- Moving the new Office of Equity to the department level, increasing capacity and providing physical space
- Establishing a new Partners in Equity Fund of $25,000 to share with community organizations doing work on equity
- Human services
- Funding for more case management and nutrition site management for the elderly
- Establishing the ability to use benefit cards at farmers markets
- Funding for a position to increase capacity at Salvation Army family shelter and temporary women’s shelter
- Additional $45,000 for Better Urban Infill Land Development (BUILD) program to plan for more planning for infill development
- Additional $1 million in the SMART fund for county government sustainable practices in operations
- $1.5 million to start a Transit Fund to partner with communities to improve transit opportunities for communities throughout the county
The property tax increase per household resulting from the approved budget is a total increase of $34.37 on the average home.