The Dane County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 2021 county budget at its Nov. 10 meeting.
The operating budget totals about $615 million. The capital budget is about $80.7 million. The budget includes a levy increase of 3.4%, increasing taxes on the average county home by $30.18.
The annual budget process takes place each October and November and sets spending priorities for the following calendar year.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi released his proposed budget Oct. 1, and county board committees have spent the last six weeks hearing from the public and making amendments regarding staffing and funding levels.
“As we do every year, the county board has heard from members of the public and what their priorities are for the coming year. It goes without saying that this year has presented us all with challenges like we’ve never seen before,” said Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher, the District 3 Supervisor who represents a portion of Sun Prairie. “I’m proud of the budget the county board has approved as it works to address some of our county’s biggest concerns.”
The approved budget includes an additional $4.35 million in capital funds to address affordable housing, including an additional $1 million that will be put into the county’s Affordable Housing Development Fund. Parisi’s proposed budget included $6 million, and the addition brings the fund to $7 million.
The board also added $2 million to support the affordable housing development project at the former Westgate Shopping Center redevelopment site, and $1.35 million toward an affordable housing project at 1042 S. Park Street.
The board also added a $2 million grant to the City of Monona to support the purchase of the San Damiano property at 4123 Monona Drive. The board included language that requires a restrictive easement on the deed specifying that the property will be for publicly accessible recreational uses, storm water management, and related infrastructure.
The 10-acre lakefront parcel is being purchased by the City of Monona at a price of $8.6 million.
“These funds underscore our commitment to providing free, accessible outdoor recreation for all residents of Dane County,” said Eicher.
The operating budget includes several amendments to the proposed budget; most notably, the restoration of positions that were reduced or eliminated. Those positions include two pretrial assessment positions; scanning LTE funds in Family Court Services; and A .5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Veterans Service Officer.
“During this crisis when many people are facing furloughs or losing their jobs entirely, I am proud that, in this budget, we are able to keep Dane County workers employed throughout the pandemic,” said Supervisor Patrick Miles, Personnel and Finance Committee Chair.
“Years of careful budget management resulted in our resiliency to whether this terrible storm,” Miles added, “and keep staff who are dedicated to providing critical services to the residents of the county.” The board also voted to increase funding for a mental health crisis worker contract by $82,000. The budget will now go to County Executive Parisi to sign.