VERONA, Wis. — Dane County Executive Joe Parisi unveiled his 2024 county budget Monday; a large portion of it focused on the social safety net.

What You Need To Know

  • Dane County Executive Joe Parisi unveiled his $900 million 2024 budget Monday

  • His address was at the Badger Prairie Needs Network, which helps hundreds of families monthly

  • The Network is serving 200% more customers than the same time last year


He detailed his $900 million 2024 budget at Badger Prairie Needs Network. Of that package, $242 million focused on social safety net services.

“Neighbors are not just the folks who live on our block. They’re everyone who calls our community home,” Parisi said.

Local leaders noted that food pantries and food banks across Dane County are busier than ever before.

“We are experiencing unprecedented demand for food pantry services,” said Lisa Marshall, director of communications for Badger Prairie Needs Network. “There’s so much more work; we’re trying to serve so many more people. We’re having a hard time just keeping the shelves stocked.”

Marshall said even though they’re now bringing in more food, they don’t have enough space for it.

“We’re running out of room; our warehouse can’t accommodate the volume of food that we’re bringing in and out,” Marshall said.

The county executive’s proposed budget included half a million dollars for the Network to build a new warehouse.

“[It will] help keep families fed, meet basic needs, and bring neighbors together,” Parisi said.

Lately when the pantry has been open, it’s been packed.

“We’re seeing increases of over 200% compared to last year,” Marshall said. “It’s unprecedented; we’re scrambling.”

The Farm to Foodbank program started in 2020 in response to the pandemic. It paid local farmers for their produce, which got sent to food banks and pantries.

“My 2024 budget continues this commitment next year with another $6 million for Second Harvest to keep providing nutritious food from our local farmers to tables of those in need,” Parisi said in his address.

Last year, the pantry distributed 1.4 million pounds of food. This year, they’ve already hit 1.7 million pounds. Marshall said grocery prices, inflation and lack of affordable child care — which can keep people out of the workforce — are having a huge impact in Dane County.

“You can’t go to a food pantry to get gas from your car or to get health care or medication,” Marshall said. “But you can come to a food pantry to get a little bit of relief in your budget.”

The 2024 budget as Parisi proposed it would increase property taxes on the average Madison home by about $12 per month.

The biggest single item in the budget is $30 million for a new 911 dispatch center, which officials have been asking for for years. It also included money for more dispatchers, renovations to the Henry Vilas Zoo and infrastructure improvements.

The Dane County Board will review the budget over the next few weeks. The board is expected to pass a final version in November.