Falk’s 2011 Budget Will Include Dollars to Continue Programs for Kids, Seniors
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today that her 2011 county budget will restore more than $1-million in budget cuts that had been proposed. The funding ensures a wide range of county services for kids, seniors, and disabled citizens will continue next year.
Falk made the announcement at Madison Memorial, one of the sites for a program that helps high school kids learn job skills through training and mentoring. That program is coordinated by a group called Common Wealth Development and is one of the many services that will have funding restored in Falk’s budget.
“At a time when so many families are hurting because of the continued national economic recession, especially our most vulnerable friends and neighbors, restoring this funding is the right thing to do,” Falk said. “Human services and public safety have received the vast majority of funding in every budget I’ve prepared and this one will be no different,” Falk added.
Falk noted the county’s Human Services budget each year totals more than half of the whole county budget and is the same size as the entire City of Madison annual operating budget.
The largest of the proposed cuts that Falk is restoring is more than $789,000 in local tax dollars for services for developmentally disabled children and adults. The county’s share of the funding helps access an additional $1.2 million in federal dollars, which means Falk’s 2011 budget will have about $2-million in added funding for those with disabilities. These dollars reflect the County Executive’s commitment to Dane County having the most comprehensive services in the state for those with disabilities. In addition, Falk’s budget will include about $23,000 for pre-vocational employment opportunities for those with physical or sensory disabilities.
Another roughly $355,000 will restore two social worker positions in the county’s popular Joining Forces for Families neighborhood programs and other positions at the Badger Prairie Health Care Center.
Falk’s budget will also include funding to continue the county’s work to curtail alcohol abuse. Included are dollars (about $17,000) to rehabilitate more chronic alcohol abusers through the popular Pathfinders program. Pathfinders was created by the County Executive in 2003 and helps repeat alcohol offenders stop drinking, secure housing and get on a path to education and employment. This program is run by Catholic Charities. An additional $80,000 will support the work of Hope Haven to treat people with alcohol addiction. $56,000 will allow Project Hugs to continue its work to counter substance abuse problems in area high schools.
Other human services budget items that Falk will restore in her 2011 budget include:
$73,341 for Recovery House, which is run by the Mental Health Center and helps those with mental health emergencies.
$56,000 for the Colonial Club and the Village of Oregon for programs that offer adult day care for seniors.
$14,000 for the Dane County Early Childhood Initiative, which helps moms and dads find jobs and ensures their babies receive preventative health care. These dollars help restore cuts to the program due to the loss of state funding.
$10,000 for suicide prevention work, to be done by the Safe Community Coalition.
$5,000 for the Urban League’s Project Bootstrap and Fatherhood Responsibility programs.
$4,676 for 18 Youth Resource Centers across Dane County.
Falk also announced her budget for Human Services will include $25,000 in funding requested by the committee working to implement recommendations from the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. One of those recommendations called for new efforts to help individuals with suspended or revoked driver’s licenses navigate the legal system so they can get their licenses reinstated and have transportation to and from work.
Falk will introduce her full 2011 budget on Friday, October 1, 2011.