County Executive Parisi Signs 2014 "An Investment in Our Values" County Budget
November 20, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
Includes Increased Funding to Help Children Succeed In School and
In Their Communities – From Birth to Adulthood
Calling it a budget that invests in the core values of Dane County, County Executive Joe Parisi today signed the 2014 county budget with no vetoes. The more than $509 million dollar spending plan builds on partnerships and innovation, providing new resources to help Dane County’s children succeed in school and in their communities from birth to adulthood.
“The 2014 county budget creates opportunity and stability for children from birth to adulthood,” said Parisi. “When we invest in the future of our children, we are making a commitment that will strengthen our entire county for generations to come.”
To help children get a great start in life, the county budget expands an existing partnership Parisi initiated with the United Way last year to create an innovative birth to four-year-old kindergarten program at Madison’s Leopold Elementary.
Two additional “Early Childhood Zones” will be created with $165,000 from Dane County and $185,000 from the United Way to serve the disadvantaged neighborhoods of Allied Drive and areas around Westside Elementary in Sun Prairie.
These zones coordinate existing community programming through the United Way and Dane County’s Joining Forces for Families (JFF) and the Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) to provide hands-on resources for parents, located right in their own neighborhoods. This work helps kids succeed – from birth until they first walk through the doors at school – and parents find meaningful employment, creating long term stability for the family.
To help children while they are in school, the 2014 county budget creates new “Mental Health Rapid Response Teams. The initiative – the largest new program included in the County Executive’s budget – will put professionals in classrooms to help de-escalate situations with students who have mental health challenges; and coordinate community and educational services. The new response teams will begin work in the Sun Prairie and Verona School Districts in 2014.
Too many young people from neighborhoods across the county face challenges in life and in learning when they bounce from apartments to rooms with relatives or friends during the school year. The 2014 budget helps provide stability for children and their families with several initiatives.
A new $25,000 “Youth Eviction Prevention Fund” will be administered through the county’s Joining Forces for Families program. With 16 urban and rural offices throughout Dane County, JFF is an accessible place where families can get help with basic needs. The fund is targeted to families who do not qualify for, or cannot access, other forms of emergency assistance.
With over $68,000 in new county funding, Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin will create a temporary housing unit for runaway youth and homeless youth in Dane County, an addition to existing resources through Briarpatch. This will help youth re-connect with school or other education opportunities, and access employment and other critical resources, preventing a pattern of long-term youth homelessness.
The budget includes $2-million to ensure a new domestic violence shelter opens in Dane County next year. This shelter, operated by Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), will be four times bigger than the current domestic violence shelter and will help survivors and their children get their lives back on track and protect them from homelessness and further violence.
Strong life and employment skills lead to family-supporting success in adulthood. In partnership with Operation Fresh Start, the budget creates the “Dane County Youth Conservation Corps,” a team of young people who will work year-round on a wide variety of projects to improve county parks. This work will help young people develop critical job skills, and their projects will keep county parks and their amenities clean, accessible, and family friendly.
A new partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County will create a youth apprenticeship program within Dane County government to help college-bound youth prepare for their academic and future careers.
The county budget also takes the first steps towards ensuring that when young people are prepared to enter the workforce, they will have the transportation necessary to get to work. A $51,000 investment will help fund the YWCA’s Transit JobRide Program, which offers 24 hour/7 days a week employment related transportation to low-income individuals. Individuals that will be helped by the program have no other access to transportation, and their employer is not accessible by Madison Metro Bus.
The 2014 budget also makes significant investments in human services, and in enhancing public safety, infrastructure, and Dane County’s lakes and lands. Sound fiscal management resulted in a projected $19 million General Reserve Fund, the highest it has ever been, better positioning the county for future fiscal uncertainty.
Parisi thanked Board Chair Hendrick, Personnel and Finance Committee Chair Corrigan, and the Dane County Board for their work and support of the 2014 budget.
“Working collaboratively public, private, and non-profit partners, the budget I am signing today that was passed by the County Board this week, truly puts resources and services where they are needed most – helping young people, our families, and communities succeed,” Parisi said.
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