Dane County Executive Parisi Signs the Dane County 2017 Budget,
November 17, 2016
Stephanie Miller 608-267-8823
MADISON- Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi signed the 2017 budget: An Investment for our Future. The Dane County Board approved the budget November 14th by 34 to 2. The budget totals just over $587,112,816 and comes in at the state imposed levy cap. This is within the strict cost controls put on Dane County by state law. Dane County’s reserve fund totals over $30 million, built up from zero when Dane County Executive Parisi took office, improving the county’s financial standing for the future. Dane County has a AAA bond rating accomplished through strict budgeting standards, efficiencies, partnerships and innovation.
“The Dane County 2017 budget makes unprecedented investments in compassionate services for our most vulnerable, infrastructure critical to continued economic vitality and safety, along with a quality of life that creates an environment where new families and businesses flourish,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.
In addition to the below initiatives, the 2017 county budget is built on preserving what is important to Dane County residents. It includes:
--significant breakthrough in lakes clean-up effort that will result in cleaner lakes decades sooner
-- helping local schools through investment in school based mental health teams, helping kids obtain their driver’s license and innovative programs to address the achievement gap
--strong investments in services for children, families, seniors and our community members with developmental disabilities and mental illness.
The 2017 budget expands the number of mental health teams working with kids, families, and teachers in local schools. Parisi created this program in his 2014 budget as his most significant policy initiative of that budget. At the time, the initiative was the first in the state and seen as an innovative step towards addressing mental health for our youth.
The 2017 budget adds a fourth Mental Health Crisis team for the Madison School District to ensure all four high school attendance areas have access to critical mental health services before a crisis occurs. The new team will focus exclusively on the LaFollette attendance area and be jointly funded by the school district and county.
The budget also partners with more school districts outside of Madison to expand upon the highly successful efforts to date. Since starting the first Dane County Mental Health Crisis Teams in 2013, hundreds of students and families across Dane County in the Madison, Verona, Sun Prairie, and most recently the Middleton-Cross Plains, DeForest, and Wisconsin Heights School Districts have benefited from this program. The Waunakee, Mount Horeb, Deerfield and Oregon School Districts have all expressed an interest in partnering to add teams in 2017. With an additional $183,000 being added for new school based mental teams in 2017, Dane County’s commitment to improving the mental health and educational experience of young people totals $511,925.
“The effects of mental illness are far reaching, affecting classrooms, families, and workplaces,” said County Executive Parisi. “Dane County is stepping up and increasing our commitment to get help to those in need and address mental health challenges. I am thrilled this program has resulted in such success for our youth struggling with mental health issues.”
Dane County will invest $12 million over the next four years to remove 870,000 pounds of phosphorus - - Dane County’s boldest, most tangible effort yet to improving the health and vitality of waters so integral to our economy and quality of life. Removing the muck and sludge that long settled into 33 miles of streams feeding our lakes will cost roughly $15 per pound of phosphorus.
The budget triples Dane County’s production of solar power, creates the new Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change, a new Council on Climate Change to coordinate the community’s work to reduce carbon emissions, and accelerates the county’s conversion of snow plows and other fossil fuel burning vehicles to cleaner burning renewable compressed natural gas.
“Because of this breakthrough, we will see clean lakes in our life time.” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This is our boldest action yet to address climate change and lead the way for our community and the State of Wisconsin.”
Dane County Executive Parisi’s budget proposal, approved by the county board is adding to the budget to expedite road projects in areas long overdue for resurfacing and repair. These projects have been engineered to include paved bike lanes wherever possible. All told, Dane County budget adds nearly 25 miles of on-road, newly paved bike lanes in addition to reconstructing major thoroughfares in partnership with communities like the City of Middleton and Village of Waunakee. The 2017 highway budget adds a total of five new positions to the Highway Department. This demonstrated commitment to safer, better maintained roads through all seasons.
To increase bike path access, Dane County Executive Parisi included and the Dane County Board approved over $2 million for three major new off-trail projects along with more staff to accelerate design and engineering work.
“This budget is my largest investment yet into reconstructing our aging county highways and investing in bike paths,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Our bike paths are a reason people love living in Dane County and are an important part of our transportation and recreation infrastructure.”
The budget increases taxes on the average Madison home (valued at $254,593) by $21.94 or 2.8%. County taxes represent about 15% of an individual’s total property tax bill.
“The County Board received a strong budget recommendation from the County Executive,” said Dane County Board Chair Corrigan. “The budget funds a path to a $15 minimum wage for contractual employees, makes real progress in criminal justice reform, and advances projects that protect our environment.”