Includes Increased Funding for Most Vulnerable Citizens, Builds on Strengthening Fiscal Foundation Amidst Uncertain Times
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi signed the 2013 county budget today with no vetoes. The $524.6 million dollar spending plan builds on partnerships and innovation to provide several new investments that address shared challenges, while setting the county on sound fiscal footing and protecting vital public services.
“We continue to operate in difficult and uncertain times, but by working together on all levels of county government, and by building new public/private partnerships, we are making investments to address the root causes of a number of challenges currently facing our community,” said Parisi. “Together, we are strengthening our fiscal footing to better protect the services our residents expect and deserve.”
The 2013 Dane County budget invests more than $243 million in county human services that prevent child abuse and neglect, combat domestic violence and protect victims and their families, provide a top-notch safety net for older adults, address homelessness, expand resources for those struggling with mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction, and more.
Parisi was joined at today’s budget signing by a number of citizens with developmental disabilities. The 2013 county budget includes a $2 million increase in funding for those who struggle with disabilities - - including a new program developed by Parisi to reduce waiting lists for assistance. This new initiative will help get new services to dozens of disabled citizens, helping them become active and engaged members of the community.
Continued state and federal funding reductions and modifications to reimbursement formulas have placed a significant strain on the county’s Department of Human Services. Parisi used other funding sources in his budget to make-up for a federal cut that would have otherwise resulted in a $850,000 reduction in services for those with disabilities.
The 2013 budget also makes significant investments in enhancing public safety and improving Dane County’s already great quality of life through investments in lake clean up, economic development, and home-grown green energy.
Sound fiscal management – including conservative revenue projections, addressing millions of dollars in chronic budget line item variances, and declining property tax delinquencies –resulted in the county’s General Reserve Fund quadrupling in the past year.
The County Executive’s budget for next year included an additional $1 million increase in that Reserve Fund and filled nearly $2 million in budget lines that had been chronically underfunded. Those steps have the county on track to end this year with more than $11 million in its reserve fund – a $14 million swing to the positive in the past 2 years.
The County Executive thanked the Dane County board for their cooperation and work during the budget process.
“Creating a county budget that meets the needs of all county residents continues to be a challenge in these economic times,” said County Board Chair, Scott McDonell. “But our priority as a County Board always has been to invest wisely in the future to ensure that we are supporting strong and thriving communities in Dane County where people want to live, work, and play, where businesses want to locate, and where visitors want to come to enjoy all that we have to offer. This budget accomplishes that in a number of ways.”
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