Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on Wednesday signed the 2022 budget, which spends a total of $754.9 million on continuing county operations as well as new initiatives focused on mental health, housing and climate change.
“The 2022 Dane County budget puts a strategic focus on the health and well-being of our people and protection of the resources and places that define us,” Parisi said.
The County Board passed the budget last week. Parisi exercised a minor partial veto to limit the scope of a subcommittee tasked with looking at wage equity. The veto does not affect any of the funding approved by the board.
Absent from the budget is additional funding for the massive Dane County Jail project. An amendment to add $23 million for the project failed.
The largest new expense in the budget is $10 million for the construction of a Crisis Triage Center, a local alternative to jail or a hospital emergency room for people experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises.
“The improvements made to mental and behavioral health are really the centerpieces of this budget and build upon our progressive leadership at meeting these needs,” Parisi said.
Other big-ticket items include $5.25 million for buying a hotel to convert to affordable housing for the homeless, $1.5 million for the creation of another tiny house village, $5 million for trailers for fuel for the county’s natural-gas-powered vehicles and $3.2 million for eight more natural-gas-powered snowplows.
To respond to the pandemic, the budget also includes $5.8 million toward creating 19 new positions dedicated to COVID-19 response, $574,000 for ultraviolet air-purification systems in 20 county facilities and $5.25 million for unknown pandemic expenses.
The budget also includes 6% to 9% raises for all county employees, with the lowest wage earners getting more.
The largest new expense is $10 million for the construction of a Crisis Triage Center.