The Dane County Board of Supervisors at its Aug. 14 meeting continued its quest to quash homelessness.
Among the action taken by the board was approval of plans to form a 13-member City-County Homeless Issues Committee. Sup. Heidi Wegleitner of Madison was the amendment's lead sponsor and has been a vocal and active supporter when it comes to homeless issues.
Among the new committee's membership will be three county supervisors appointed by board Chair Sharon Corrigan of Middleton, three current or former homeless individuals, and two Madison alders.
The group is expected to examine issues related to homelessness and provide reports to the county board. Madison officials have signed off on formation of the committee.
Supervisors last Thursday also backed the purchase of a house on Madison’s north side for $310,000 with plans to make it available to individuals between the ages of 17 and 25 who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Per the agreement, Madison Community Cooperative (MCC) and Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin will team to lease the property for $1 annually to make available the 10-bedroom residence at 1738 Roth St. A five-year federal grant worth $186,000 annually has been secured to operate the venue.
Sup. Carousel Bayrd of Madison said the purchase and lease agreement will provide “work stability and community stability,” for at-risk young people.
“It really is a fabulous thing,” Bayrd added. “I just wanted to highlight a great success tonight.”
County Executive Joe Parisi in a release said the “creative collaboration” is a new approach to resolving homelessness that he is “excited to have Dane County participating in.”
“This purchase is the culmination of a long process of collaboration between our community partners, the county board and the county executive,” Corrigan said. “I’m proud that Dane County is a place where people work together to solve problems, and I look forward to seeing what our community partners can accomplish with this property.”
•Supervisors voted 26-9 to amend county ordinance to increase the Public Safety Communications Center Board's voting membership total to 13 (from 12).
The county 911 center, which handles around 300,000 calls annually, and its leaders, have come under fire from Madison city officials for lagging response times after a new dispatch system began in April 2013.
There have also been ongoing challenges with the implementation of DaneCom, a new $18 million countywide radio system set to go live around Labor Day.
“We do understand that this is a process and we can't just plug in an $18 million project, flip the switch, and it works,” said Sup. Bob Salov of Cambridge, adding that he has “full confidence” in 911 center staff to address the problems.
Salov offered a resolution more than a month ago that sought to scale back the total number of seats on the 911 center board. He said the board is made up of “fine” individuals with “good intentions,” but emphasized on Thursday a desire to see things simplified.
“I suggest to you that the center board severely reduce itself in size and that it wield itself as a policy setting board rather than a work shop to work out the details of this very complex project,” Salov said.
•Supervisors voted to delay a decision on a conditional use permit request out of the the Town of Albion related to possible mineral extraction.
“There was a lack of understanding about the time frame for testimony and witnesses and in order to preserve the due process rights of the appellants, corporation counsel recommended that we postpone,” Chair Sharon Corrigan said.
A contingent of individuals were registered to speak before the board about the permit matter, which will be reviewed by the board at one of its two scheduled meetings in September.