County Executive Parisi Introduces 2015 Budget: Shared Values, Shared Responsibilities
October 01, 2014
Melanie Conklin, Office of the County Executive, (608) 267-8823
MADISON: Dane County Executive Joe Parisi introduced his 2015 budget for Dane County today. He emphasized the theme of bringing people and resources together to reach mutual goals that support our shared values.
His proposed 2015 operating budget totals just over $540 million and the capital budget totals $39 million dollars. This is within the strict cost controls put on Dane County by state law. Dane County’s reserve fund totals $20 million, built up from zero when he took office, improving the county’s financial standing for the future. This was done through strict budgeting standards, efficiencies, partnerships and innovation.
“This budget reflects our community’s shared values,” Parisi said. “It approaches our challenges together as shared responsibilities. And this is how Dane County will continue to be a leader in innovation - through collaboration.”
For the county to continue providing the same services we have today it would cost $3.5 million more in 2015. So the County Executive instructed departments and agencies to only suggest something new if the costs were covered by new revenue, through new partnerships or by reallocating existing dollars to reduce the need for taxpayer dollars. “In other words,” said Parisi, “collaborate, innovate and be creative.”
The 2015 county budget is built on preserving what is important to Dane County residents. It includes:
--significant efforts to enhance such fundamental, basic services as snow plowing
--a continued focus on protecting our lakes and natural resources
--strong investments in services for children, families, seniors and our community members with developmental disabilities and mental illness.
Highlights and new programs are highlighted in the County Executive’s budget memo, including:
- 46 miles of additional roads being plowed 24-hours a day when needed and seven new CNG snowplows
- Dane County Medical Examiner – this budget formalizes a contract with Rock County under the leadership of Dr. Tranchida that will allow for such enhancements as a new cadaver dog for difficult death investigations and top-notch staff to conduct death investigations.
- $750,000 to get 42 families out of homeless shelters, off the streets and into affordable housing
- $400,000 to expand solar development on county facilities
- $1.6 million for 7 more compressed natural gas snowplows -- filling up off our landfill at 25% the cost of diesel fuel
- $140,000 for new technology and software to maximize the efficiency of how and where snowplows are assigned over the county’s more than 1200 square miles
- $750,000 new matching grant program to help communities develop bike trails linking park spaces
- $75,000 to explore a future expanded role for conservation education at the Lussier Family Heritage Center
- $750,000 for improvements to bring more concerts and shows to the Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center
- $500,000 for a phosphorus-elimination system at the Springfield digester
- $500,000 to help farmers store manure and stop spreading in the winter
- $60,000 to help the county better respond to heavy rainfall events resulting from the effects of climate change
- $650,000 to begin changing how inmate laundry is done, giving those with Huber work release further opportunity to develop job skills and reducing a more than $215,000 annual operating expense in the Sheriff’s budget (currently done by outside contract)
- $100,000 for upgrades to Dane County Emergency Management’s Incident Command Vehicle used during such events as the Verona tornado to help coordinate regional public safety responses
- $20,000 to increase outreach to Dane County’s growing Latino population about opportunities for both economic development and access to affordable housing
Consistent with state law, the budget is a 4.07% increase. County taxes represent roughly 15% of an individual’s property tax bill and if passed as proposed equates to a $23.15 increase on the average home valued at $237,678.
“We have found that in challenging times, the way to preserve what we value while keeping costs down for taxpayers is by reinventing ourselves through increased collaboration,” Parisi added.
The budget moves next to the Dane County Board for consideration.
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