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FALK ANNOUNCES BUDGET DECISIONS

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/17/2003

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
County Executive Praises Cooperation

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today signed, with no vetoes, the 2004 county budget. The $399 million budget includes an operating budget of $381 million, and a capital budget of $18 million.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved the budget Wednesday night (11/12/02) in the first of two nights scheduled for deliberations. The Board did not increase or decrease the levy proposed by Falk.

The tax rate for Dane County taxpayers falls by a dime from, from $2.99 per thousand of assessed valuation in 2003 to $2.89 for 2004. The spending increase on the tax levy, despite an unprecedented $8 million in cuts from the state, was held to 4.85%. This translates into a $25.70 increase for the owner of a Madison home valued at today’s average cost of $189,484.

County Executive Falk said, “I appreciate the County Board Chair’s and the Board’s cooperation in working on a difficult budget, and their swift approval of it. By working together we preserved our citizens’ priorities for human services and public safety. We cut government and are making government more efficient, saving taxpayer dollars.”

“I also want to thank the Personnel and Finance Committee, and its chair Scott McDonell, for helping craft this budget. Supervisor McDonell helped fashion fair budget compromises among members who have differing priorities.”

Reflecting citizens’ concerns as voiced at over 17 hours of testimony, over half of the dollars in the operating budget, $204 million, go to pay for human services. The Sheriff’s Department budget, agreed to by the Sheriff and the County Executive, stands at $46.4 million.

In order to fund these priorities, the budget reflects $12 million in cuts, mergers and other efficiencies.

The budget eliminates 40 positions, with a savings of over $2 million. There will be no new hiring in 2004, with narrow public safety exceptions and an appeal process. The budget also contains several mergers of departments. Falk continues her own salary freeze that she first imposed on herself in January 2002. By the end of 2003, it will save the county $13,872.

“We took important steps to trim county government and focus on our priorities,” said Falk. “We will continue to meet funding challenges by working together to be the most efficient and effective that we can be.”

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