Dane Co. exec reveals nearly $1 billion budget
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi unveiled his nearly $1 billion budget for the next year, zeroing in on the parts he says improve the county’s social safety net.
“The Covid-19 pandemic really showed the importance of life’s basics and highlighted how challenging it is for those less fortunate in our community to access them,” Parisi said.
More than a quarter of the $937.4 million budget – over $242 million – will go toward the social service safety net, according to Parisi’s office. The total budget allocates $787.6 million for operating purposes, while capital spending will come in at just under $150 million.
The County Executive’s office estimates the owner of an average Madison home, which it values at $424,000, will see their taxes go up $142.14 because of the budget. The plan now heads to the Board of Supervisors and Parisi’s office expects to see it passed next month.
The biggest earmark dedicates over $36 million for the building of a new 911 center that will be located at the East District Campus and serve as the hub for public safety communications. The building will contain a video wall which will allow dispatchers to keep tabs on traffic cameras, weather maps, and other events in real time.
To highlight the social services provided by the budget, Parisi introduced his plan in Verona on Monday, at the Badger Prairie Needs Network, which his office described as a highly successful non-profit organization focused on feeding hundreds of people and helping them with job training and other services.
Eleven million dollars would be tapped to offer even more assistance to food pantries and the emergency food supply network, according to the county executive’s office, while $6 million will be directed to the COVID-19-era Farm to Foodbank program that aims to connect local farmers and food pantries.
“This budget keeps our local growers feeding this community and positions our invaluably important pantry network for continued increases in service demands they’ve experienced these past several years,” Parisi said.
Parisi’s office also hopes to establish a $2.5 million grant program to help local agencies with recruiting and retaining front line workers who offer services such as stabilizing mental health emergencies and caring for vulnerable individuals.
The Henry Vilas Zoo will get an eight-figure infusion for its “Heart of the Zoo” initiative, the first step of which will go toward the building of a new exhibit for giraffes. More than $15 million is targeted for highway and bridge improvement, particularly on Hwy. MM between Oregon and Fitchburg, Hwy. Y from Hwy. KP to the Dane Co. border, and Hwy. G south of Mount Vernon.
The plan also includes the $1.5 million bump in the county’s contribution to the planned men’s shelter for those experiencing homelessness.
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