County Budget Includes More Than $4.4 Million Increase in Human Services
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi signed the 2012 county budget today with no vetoes. The budget is Parisi’s first as Dane County Executive and includes a more than $4.4 million dollar increase in funds for programs and services administered by Dane County Human Services.
“This budget maintains Dane County’s commitment to providing critical human services and preserves the high quality of life our residents enjoy, in the face of historic challenges brought on by deep cuts from state government,” said Parisi. “I want to thank County Board Chair McDonell and the county board for working with me to deliver a budget that reflects Dane County’s values.”
The 2012 Dane County budget invests nearly $237 million in the county’s human services safety net for older adults, children, and people with disabilities. That total accounts for nearly 50% of the entire county budget, with an increase of $4.4 million over last year. The budget also includes a new Human Services contingency fund to help the county to protect vital services in the event of additional cuts from the state in 2012.
Parisi was joined at the signing by community leaders partnering with the county on the County Executive’s new Life Skills and Employment Initiative, a targeted effort to help at-risk youth land and keep a job. The budget provides dollars to Operation Fresh Start to help fund a new 15 person work crew. Dane County Human Services, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, the Urban League and Centro Hispano will provide Operation Fresh Start with youth referrals to fill the crew.
The budget signed Thursday also initiates important first steps in realizing savings through recommendations from a recently completed review of the county’s criminal justice system. Dane County’s Criminal Justice Council, which includes the County Executive, County Board Chair, Dane County Sheriff, Dane County District Attorney, and Dane County’s Clerk of Courts and Chief Judge, will meet regularly to form a plan of action related to the study.
“We faced critical challenges with this budget, and it was important that we protect services to the most vulnerable members of the Dane County community,” said County Board Chair Scott McDonell. “We were able to do this with the cooperation of key local officials who were open to innovative approaches to cut costs in the criminal justice system. This is how we were able to meet short term needs while laying the groundwork for long term savings.”
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