The budget process really helped me understand more deeply how, and where, the county services are integrated into our community. It also helped expose areas where we could be doing even more.
You can read the press release about the overall process here.
The amendments that I led focused on immigration, and engagement for youth and families in the La Follette neighborhood. There is simultaneously an urgent need, and long-term intervention to be invested in the youth of our community. Several community members and leaders have been meeting. I have joined in those meetings as well as talking with students and parents.
In addition to opening conversations with staff, families, and students in the La Follette neighborhood, as well as several leaders in the community, I worked with other community leaders and people in District 24 to set priorities for the upcoming year. Mayor O’Connor, and the Senior Center Director Diane Mikelbank suggested funding for a trial of EMS bags for people suffering with dementia, who may be left by their main caregiver in an emergency situation. The Human Services Department was able to accommodate this request, and a trial will launch in 2019.
I was so grateful to work with the County Executive, and his staff to listen to the desires of the people who came to testify at the public hearings. The Vets Ride With Pride Program is a popular program that provides a bus pass for Veterans. Demand for the program has exceeded capacity for the last few years. The additional funding ensures that Veterans in our community will have access to transportation year round. The program also supports the opportunity for staff to check in with Veterans on their health, and get them additional services if they are experiencing any concerns.
With the budget, we set the priorities of our county. Now, it is time to do the work. I am looking forward to heading into 2019 to put the budget in action.
I was proud to sign on as a co-sponsor to other amendments including:
Rapid Rehousing for Homeless Veterans and Chronically Homeless Individuals on Dane County Priority List and Increased Services for Rethke Residents, introduced by Supervisor Weigleitner
Outreach Inc. to fund a Transgender Health Advocate counseling led by Supervisor Kilmer
Sexual Assault Prevention Services, introduced by Supervisor Young
Redirecting funds to Anesis Therapy for Hmong Kajsiab and Catholic Multicultural Center to the Hmong Institute for Hmong Kajsiab Community Programming, led by Supervisors Kilmer and Kuhn
Fundraising effort by installing change collection sites at the Dane County Airport, that will support the JFF Eviction Prevention, led by Supervisor Eicher
A zero-dollar evaluation of mental health services, led by Supervisor Kuhn
Goodman Community Center mental health services in partnership with Anesis Therapy, lead sponsor Supervisor Kuhn
A colleague recently asked me what I was most proud of when it came to the budget. Upon reflection it was how collaborative and supportive our process was as a committee. We worked so hard to reach out to people around Dane County, respond to public testimony, and compromise with one another on how to move forward. Ultimately, in committee we cut our initial budget amendments by nearly half before sending them on to the Finance Committee. A couple of the things that I led that did not make it through the budget process included more funding for immigration support staff, and funding for parenting training for parents who are incarcerated. Both of these are needs that we still recognize. Researchers at UW-Madison continue to search for funding for the parenting instruction, and have won grants to pay for training for a trial, but are still in need of funding to support the program in the long-run. The additional support for immigration remains a critical need for our community.
As always this process works best when I hear from you. Please contact me: (608) 237-6712, firstname.lastname@example.org.