Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office


March 07, 2019
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

Thursday meeting also includes clean lakes ordinance, land purchases


The Dane County Board on Thursday will consider directing consultants Mead & Hunt to explore three additional design options for a jail that would still meet the goals of improving inmate and staff safety while reducing the total number of beds in the facility.


The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the City-County Building (CCB) and is open to the public. The full agenda is available at


The resolution for additional design and consulting services asks Mead & Hunt to consider alternate facility locations and configurations after engineers determined an earlier plan would be more expensive than anticipated.


“This has been a long process with many challenges, but it’s important we exercise all due diligence before making any final decisions,” said Supervisor Patrick Miles (District 34, McFarland), who chairs the Personnel and Finance Committee. “We still need to ensure the project addresses safety concerns while providing appropriate medical and mental health housing and programming space.”


The County Board in 2017 approved borrowing $76 million to add four floors to the Public Safety Building at 115 W. Doty St. and consolidate the county’s three jail facilities into the renovated building. That plan called for 91 fewer total beds, face-to-face visitation spaces and separate facilities for inmates suffering from mental illness in addition to closing the outdated jail cells on the 6th and 7th floors of the City-County Building.


But those plans were discarded when contractors found that Public Safety Building was not structurally sound enough to hold the additional weight as officials originally thought. Building a completely new facility next to the Public Safety Building was estimated to cost approximately $150 million.


As a result, the County Board is asking Mead & Hunt to analyze three alternatives that include renovating existing jail space on the 6th and 7th floors of the CCB; not consolidating the County’s three jail sites into one facility; or building a completely new facility on land outside the downtown.


“Our commitment to build a safer, smaller, and fairer jail remains unchanged,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan (District 26, Middleton). “It is our responsibility, however, to explore every option and make choices with full information regarding both capital and on-going costs.”


Mead & Hunt is being asked to identify not only capital costs of any new jail but costs of additional staffing, rehousing inmates during construction and transporting inmates for court appearances if a new jail is built outside the downtown.


After receiving those cost estimates, the County Board will review the plans and provide ample opportunities for community engagement. Ultimately, members of the Public Protection & Judiciary Committee and the Public Works & Transportation Committee will craft a resolution to direct the design work.  The full Board will then vote and the County Executive will consider the resolution once it is approved.


Also Thursday night the Board will:

  • Consider an ordinance to provide for proper and safe storage, handling and land application of manure to reduce the delivery of manure, other waste materials, fertilizers and sediment to surface waters and groundwater. The ordinance grew out of the County Board’s Healthy Farms Health Lakes Task Force and would bring Dane County into compliance with state performance standards and prohibitions for agriculture. "These are reasonable rules that will help protect water quality when ensuring our farmers can stay in business," said Supervisor Nikki Jones, (District 28) who served on the Task Force.

  • Consider the appointment of Shawn Tessmann as the next Director of the Department of Human Services. Tessmann would replace Lynn Green who is retiring after 46 years of public service.

  • Consider the purchase of 25 acres from the William Graff and Evelyn M. Graff Revocable Living Trust in the Town of Burke. The parcel contains two ponds and approximately 1,650 feet of meandering stream bank frontage on Token Creek. The Graff parcel adjoins 54 acres to the east that were purchased by the County in 2017 and is consistent with the Token Creek County Park and Natural Resource Area Master Plan.

  • Consider buying approximately .23 acres in the Town of Pleasant Springs for the Lower Yahara River Trail and Door Creek Wildlife Area. This parcel would provide an access point for the Trail and the Wildlife Area, allowing the trail to bypass a designated wetland and connect directly to the road. A small parking area and a kiosk with trail and wildlife area information would be planned for the parcel.