January 06, 2017
Board Chair Sharon Corrigan 608-333-2285
County Board

Initiatives included criminal justice reform, homeless shelter, wage hike


The work of the Dane County Board runs from A to Z – from oversight of the regional airport to running the Vilas Park zoo.


But the Board in 2016 also led the way in fighting for social justice, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability.


“While over 500,000 residents rely on the county for day-to-day ‘core services,’ the Dane County Board this year launched a series of progressive policy initiatives,” said Board Chair Sharon Corrigan of Middleton.


Accomplishments in 2016 included:


  • CRIMINAL JUSTICE:  The Dane County Criminal Justice Council is working with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Harvard University to use an evidence-based pretrial assessment tool to divert those who should not be held in jail.  The project will use data to determine flight risk or risk of new criminal activity before an offender is jailed.

  • REDISTRICTING:  In a move to establish fair and nonpartisan voting districts, the Board put in place a nonpartisan Citizen Redistricting Commission to redraw maps following the 2020 Census.  The process will set voting districts based on population, municipal boundaries, ethnic makeup and natural geographic features. 

  • $15 DOLLAR MINIMUM WAGE:  Taking the lead on the fight for a $15 minimum wage, the Board approved a plan to gradually increase minimum pay for county employees and contractors. The change is projected to pump some $2 million into the local economy while helping lower-income workers make ends meet.

  • ALLIANT ENERGY CENTER:  The Board began the multi-year process of redeveloping the Alliant Energy Center (AEC) property.  A market study is underway, and a master planning process will begin in 2017 to determine the future of the AEC 162-acre campus.

  • SUSTAINABLE OPERATIONS: The Board accepted the county government’s first-ever comprehensive plan focused on guiding the County to operate more sustainably. The detailed plan outlines specific goals, objectives, and strategies across eight broad operational categories, including waste, transportation and purchasing.

  • HOMELESS DAY SHELTER:  After years of work trying to find the best location for a homeless day shelter, Dane County purchased the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Building.  It will help connect individuals and families with community services while meeting basic needs such as showers, laundry facilities and meals.


“I am proud of the work Dane County elected officials accomplish together on behalf of county residents, and am looking forward to even greater strides in the coming year,” Corrigan said.