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City-County Building

The Dane County Board of Supervisors will deliberate on the 2019 capital and operating budgets Monday at 7 p.m. in room 201 of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Dane County’s Personnel and Finance Committee on Thursday added a slate of amendments to County Executive Joe Parisi’s proposed 2019 capital and operating budgets, including measures addressing youth in the community.

The committee approved a $81,800 amendment adding two full-time Neighborhood Intervention Program leaders to provide support to area youth starting in July 2019. The additional funding comes on the heels of an uptick in juvenile crime, specifically car theft, in the Madison and the Dane County area.

“Our youth in our community need some support, and we need to be working with them before they’re arrested and they’re in the criminal justice system,” Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan said.

A second amendment adds $30,000 for community measures to address violence at La Follette High School.

Supervisor Tanya Buckingham, District 24, said county staff working with schools are stretched too thin. 

"Allocating funding in the budget provides the opportunity for us to address specific action quickly while we work on long-term solutions alongside neighbors, parents, and students," Buckingham said. 

Personnel and Finance Committee Chair Patrick Miles, supervisor for District 24, said the 51 amendments build on Parisi’s proposed $557.3 million operating budget and $63.2 million capital budget.

“We had a really good starting point with the executive’s original proposal,” Miles said. “We had some really good things in there and this builds on that with, I think, maybe some of the most significant areas.”

Under the approved operating  and capital budget amendments, Dane County’s criminal justice work and affordable housing received funds.

A $153,700 amendment added two full time pretrial service assessors to the Clerk of Courts. The Pretrial Safety Assessment is a tool that provides race-neutral information for court commissioners to consider when deciding bail and other conditions at an initial court appearance.

The two positions were previously funded through a grant and additional funding is needed to continue the program.

The PSA tool is one way the county is attempting to reduce the number of jail beds. Under a jail renovation project approved in the 2018 budget, the jail will have about 90 fewer beds.

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“If we’re going to build this 10 percent smaller, we need to be thinking years ahead before we finish it,” Corrigan said.

The largest capital budget amendment would add $3 million to the county’s affordable housing fund. Parisi’s budget also included $3 million.

“We need to address this housing shortage in our community. It affects everybody,” Corrigan said. “If families can’t get affordable housing, they can’t succeed.”

Adding to a sweeping $18 million initiative address flooding prevention outlined in Parisi's proposal, an amendment added an additional $1 million to ensure there is adequate funding for improving Yahara River water flow. 

The Dane County Board of Supervisors will deliberate on the capital and operating budgets Monday at 7 p.m. in room 201 of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.