Dane County’s Personnel and Finance Committee recommended eliminating a fee charged to parents of youth who are placed in the county’s home detention program.
The ordinance and corresponding 2020 operating budget amendment recommended Tuesday would remove the $3 per day fee for juveniles who are monitored in home detention, which is meant to be an alternative to placing youth at the juvenile detention center or at a shelter home.
Dane County Supervisor Carousel Bayrd, District 8, a sponsor of the ordinance and amendment said she wants to encourage families to choose home detention.
“Placement of a youth in their home with their family should be the top choice, and I don’t want fees or costs to get in the way,” Bayrd said.
Elimination of the fee would result in a reduction of $1,500 in revenue. Dane County Juvenile Court Administrator John Bauman said the fee is “one that can be dropped pretty easily” due to the minimal amount of revenue.
Revenue from the fee would support staff who monitor youth in home detention.
The Dane County Board of Supervisors will need to vote on the ordinance and budget amendment to make the change. Budget deliberations begin Monday at 7 p.m. in room 201 of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
The recommendation follows a change in the 2019 budget that removed fees billed to families of juveniles who are held in custody at the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center located on the second floor of the City-County Building.
The full amount that previously was billed to families of youth at the detention center was $130 per night, which brought in $4,000 per month in revenue for the detention center. The fee was evaluated on a sliding scale based on child support standards.
Public Protection & Judiciary Committee Chair Maureen McCarville, who also represents District 22, said she is interested in starting a subcommittee or work group to study fees and "effect some change" rather than making adjustments piecemeal.
Bayrd said she plans to continue working on ways to reduce other fees assessed to people caught up in the criminal justice system.
“One of the top reasons why I’ll be running for re-election is to continue to have the conversation about reducing fees in the criminal justice system,” Bayrd said.