Several programs in the proposed Dane County budget that County Executive Joe Parisi unveiled Oct. 1 could affect Stoughton area residents.
Those include human services programming, road projects and continued work to remove sediments from the Yahara chain of lakes to reduce area flooding.
Parisi’s 2020 county budget proposal, headed to the Dane County Personnel and Finance committee for a round of public meetings next month, totals nearly $592 million, with a capital budget of more than $61.8 million. It would increase the operating portion of the county levy by 3.9% and increase of around $21.85 on the average home, valued at $300,967 this year, according to a county news release.
The County Board is set to vote on the 2020 budget at its Monday, Nov. 11 meeting.
Parisi said the budget “makes significant investments in compassionate services for our more vulnerable residents, infrastructure improvements to maintain public safety as our community continues to grow, and efforts to preserve our unique outdoor spaces.”
Human services initiatives totaling $231.1 million compose the most significant portion of the budget. Included in his proposal is an expansion of the county’s Joining Forces for Families program, which he wrote would double staff time in Stoughton starting next year to four days per week.
The proposal also includes a $500,000 grant program for community centers to launch new mental and behavioral health work for kids and families and more than $600,000 in new funds for those centers to help address young peoples’ mental health needs.
District 36 representative Melissa Ratcliff, who represents the Town of Pleasant Springs, said the budget proposes $200,000 to fund two full time mental health professionals as a pilot project to assist non-Medicare eligible adult seniors. The staff would work with Senior Focal Point case managers, including at McFarland Senior Outreach for the Town of Pleasant Springs residents, to help keep seniors who experience chronic mental illness living independently.
The budget allots $1.15 million next year to reconstruct McCarthy Bridge in the Town of Dunkirk, $460,000 to resurface County Hwy. BN from Koshkonong Road to Highway 12 and $435,000 to resurface BN from County Hwy. B to Koshkonong Road.
More than $33.6 million is slated for “clean lakes, parks for people to play, and trails,” according to the news release, including doubling funding for the “Continuous Cover” program piloted last year to reduce run-off and preserve rural character, due to “overwhelming” interest, according to the news release. Last year, the county awarded grants to convert nearly 550 acres that had been in annual row crops into continuous, perennial cover.
Parisi is also including $350,000 to purchase electric vehicle charging stations at 16 county sites, including Viking County Park.
For the county’s “Suck the Muck” project, $5 million is allotted to add new four positions dedicated to this Yahara chain of lakes sediment removal work in the Land and Water Resources Department. and purchase equipment for the county to do its own hydraulic dredging.
“This ensures for years to come, Dane County has the equipment and staff expertise in house to manage new work demands created by the new realities that pose unique challenges to a quickly growing area with diverse water resources,” Parisi said in the news release.
The budget also includes $3.5 million for renovation work to establish a new southeast precinct in Stoughton and around $700,000 for the acquisition of 13 new SUVs for patrol deputies.