My 2021 Human Services budget totals $239,497,599. Similar to years past, this comprises the largest share—almost half—the total of the entire county budget. This safety net served Dane County well in 2020 and remains an area of pride and strength as the community heads into the continued unknowns of the months ahead.
Given the continued rapid spread of this virus and with colder weather months ahead, the risk of infection will only continue to increase in congregate settings.
My budget includes $9 million to ensure those who face homelessness will continue to have hotel rooms for safe respite. These dollars should allow Dane County to keep homeless individuals in a safe environment through June of 2021.
Dane County’s Small Business Pandemic Support Grant Program infused over $10 million into hundreds of local small businesses. Despite these efforts, businesses still face a long, challenging road back from the pandemic.
To help support them, I’m including $50,000 in my 2021 budget for the regional economic development entity MadRep to assist with COVID-19 business recovery. It will survey local businesses on needs as the pandemic evolves and use that information to inform business retention and start-up work.
Dane County knows the long-term mental health and addiction recovery needs in this community will long outlast the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why I’m including $500,000 in my budget to partner with the organization “Restoring Roots” on a new multi-unit development to provide stable housing and recovery services to those who struggle with addiction.
Long term housing with wraparound services like job training and other life skills offer a path back to those who find themselves in the long, dark hallways that come with addiction. We are hopeful this contribution to jumpstart this collaboration spurs others to join in and bring this estimated 50-unit recovery house project to completion
In the spring of 2020, Dane County moved quickly to adopt remote work policies and procedures so those in its workforce who could work outside the office had the ability to do so. While originally done to help promote social distancing, these strategies also help reduce climate emissions and potentially avoid recurring capital expenditures to expand county office buildings.
I’m including $150,000 in my 2021 budget to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of longer-term remote work assignments and, in turn, develop a comprehensive plan for the county’s space needs moving forward.
I’m also including $2.5 million in the Department of Administration budget so Dane County can continue to meet time sensitive needs related to the pandemic. These dollars will allow the county to acquire personal protective equipment and cover the ongoing expenses associated with contact tracing and testing.
I’m including $1 million in my 2021 budget so the Badger Prairie Health Care Center can complete construction on a new isolation room in the event a resident of the facility should test positive for COVID-19.
CARES funding will cover the ongoing initial design work for this project to convert Badger Prairie’s therapy gym into a COVID-19 care area. That space has the infrastructure needed to serve as an isolated specialty care area for residents and help keep employees separated from the rest of the nursing home staff and residents, consistent with CDC guidelines.
On so many occasions in recent years with flooding, tornadoes, and other unpredictable events with wide scale community impact, Dane County Emergency Management has served the community capably and professionally.
Prior to the pandemic, Dane County acquired a former Fitchburg Fire Station to be the new home of its Emergency Management offices. County staff worked with a design firm this year to determine what modifications are needed for the building to allow the Emergency Management team to develop a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center. I’m including $4.4 million in this budget for the needed upgrades to the new home of Dane County Emergency Management.