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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


County executive signs $575 million county budget for 2015

County CFO: “Keeping the lights on is the best we can do”
Herald File Photo

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi signed the county’s two budgets Wednesday, approving $2 million for affordable housing initiatives and funding for eight additional employees at the 911 Center, among other items.

The $533 million operating budget and $42 million capital budget represent a $14 million increase from last year’s budget, according to Chuck Hicklin, the county’s chief financial officer and controller.

Taxes on the average single family home in Madison will increase by approximately $23, he said.


The budget includes nearly $9 million in funding for the 911 Center, which has faced intense scrutiny over response times in recent years.

Parisi calls for revamping of 911 call center

Part of that funding will pay the salaries of eight additional staff members at the 911 Center, according to a statement from Parisi.

County Board Supervisor Leland Pan, District 5, said part of the concern has been slow response times. Adding eight new employees will help increase response times, he said.

“While our numbers are pretty good and have been pretty consistent over the years, certainly there’s always room for improvement,” he said.

The budget also includes $20,000 to study the effects of equipping sheriff’s deputies with body cameras, Pan said. Part of that money will go toward ensuring the public’s voice is heard on the proposal, he said.

The budget also includes $2 million for the Affordable Housing Development Fund in 2015, and a proposal for another $2 million per year for three more years, Pan said.

The funds will be used to promote the construction of affordable housing for formerly homeless people and to establish housing cooperatives, he said.

County board approves $8 million in funding to combat homelessness

The funds could eventually be used to purchase a site for a day resource center, but the proposed site near Park Street has faced legal challenges and opposition from neighbors, he said.

Despite the budget having most of the items and supervisors Parisi pushed for, Pan said he wished more could have been done to increase the county’s living wage ordinance.

“If we had the money, I would have loved to have set our living wage ordinance to $15 per hour … but that money didn’t exist,” he said.

It’s unfortunate the budget couldn’t include a raise for county workers, he said.

Maintaining quality of life and important services in the county was the goal of the budget, which the county was able to do, Parisi said in the statement.

“In challenging economic times and when facing economic uncertainties, I am proud that in Dane County we worked together to keep costs down for taxpayers through collaboration,” he said.

Though not every item could be funded, the budget has most of what Parisi and the board wanted, Hicklin said.

Additionally, the budget will ensure a balance of $20 million in the county’s rainy day fund in case of some kind of fiscal shock, he said.

“Keeping the lights on is the best we can do,” Hicklin said.

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