Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today that he has negotiated a plan with Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney that will result in $1 million in savings for the county’s 2012 budget. Under the proposal announced by Parisi and Mahoney, the county will begin to close down the second floor of its minimum-security, Huber work release Ferris Center this week.
The partial closure results from negotiations the County Executive initiated with the Sheriff shortly after taking office in April. As part of that process, the County Executive toured the Ferris Center with the Sheriff and his staff.
“With severe cuts looming on the state level, working collaboratively to find efficiencies within county government will be critical moving forward,” said Parisi. “The state has tied our hands, and cuts will happen, but by all of us working together on innovative solutions like this, we can minimize the ill effects the state budget will have on core services and county taxpayers.”
The Governor and State Legislature have signaled they will make deep cuts on the state level that will affect county government for years to come – possibly some of the worst cuts the county has ever experienced.
To prepare for these cuts, the county will close down the second floor of the Ferris center, the county’s minimum-security work release facility. The closure is possible in part through consolidation of some of the Ferris center population into other county corrections facilities, as well as the use of electronic monitoring technology to track low-risk offenders who would typically be on work release. Sheriff’s Deputies that currently staff the second floor of the Ferris center will be reassigned to fill vacancies and positions to reduce overtime in the department. Overall, the closure will save the county $1 million dollars going into the 2012 budget.
“This partial closure of the Ferris center is necessary to find savings in tough budget times, but I assure you it’s also safe,” said Sheriff Mahoney. “I’m glad that our department could work with the County Executive to be a part of the solution.”
County Executive Parisi added that while major savings will be achieved, the $1 million that will result in the partial closing of the Ferris Center only accounts for half of the Sheriff Department’s annual cost to continue current operations in 2012 – highlighting the need to find even more cost savings in county government to absorb cuts from the state level.
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