MADISON, Wis. — Dane County Executive Joe Parisi unveiled his spending plan Monday for the next budget year, which is called "Opportunity Out of Adversity."

Housing, services for the homeless and conservation efforts are among the biggest parts of the $834 million spending plan. However, the single largest area of new dollars — $7.5 million — would go toward eliminating food insecurity.

From the warehouse floor of the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, Parisi explained each part of his budget proposal.

“If there's one thing the past few years have taught us, it's that we don't know what the next year will bring,” Parisi said.

Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi stands in the Second Harvest warehouse with county partners as he explains the different parts of his budget proposal. (Spectrum News 1/Anthony DaBruzzi)

One-and-a-half million dollars was proposed to help The River Food Pantry grow and meet demands, while $6 million would allow the county and Second Harvest to continue its "Farm to Foodbank" program through 2023.

“Since debuting in the spring of 2020, our partnership has brought in and boxed up over $20 million in food for families across the county,” Parisi explained. “Second Harvest has placed over $16 million in food orders with local Dane County farmers and producers, and in partnership with 165 partner agencies, distributed over 10.5 million pounds of locally grown and sourced food.”

Additional spending in Parisi's budget include:

  • $6 million dollars for a new men's homeless shelter in Madison, which brings the county's share to a total of $9 million
  • Another $6 million toward affordable housing development
  • $4.5 million proposed to install carbon capture technologies, while $10 million will go to the Dane County Conservation Fund

The proposal also called for a 9% inflationary adjustment for the Dane County workforce, including nonprofit partners that provide family and mental health services.

“Like others, these agencies have struggled to keep up under the weight of inflation, often finding it difficult to fill critical positions in their agencies because their wages and benefits can't keep up,” Parisi said.

Unlike past budgets, this proposal included a brand new policy that sets Dane County's reserve fund balance to be no lower than 10% of the county's operating budget.

Parisi's proposal included an operating budget of $712.6 million, while his capital spending plan totaled in at $121.4 million. The proposed budget would raise taxes on the average Madison home by $30.05, a levy increase of 5.97%.