Be transparent, fix your budget!
On Monday November 2nd and Wednesday, November 4th, the Personnel and Finance Committee heard input from the community and asked a few questions about the 78 budget amendments proposed by county board supervisors that passed committees. 10 new amendments were presented without public input. On Tuesday, November 12th, a proposal was made available to the public, choosing 38 amendments for “sub 1”. Two days later "sub 1" was presented to the Personnel and Finance Committee. There was no opportunity for public input on this new set of proposals. People appeared to register, but no registration slips were read or information provided to committee members. There was no information presented about why some items were in and others were out of the sub 1 amendment, there was zero discussion from the committee members and in 9 minutes, it was approved. It now goes to the county board, with no chance for public input on the new deal that was struck outside of the public process. We urge you to fix several issues in the process. 1. Fix problems with the Human Services RFP process. Two agencies, Genesis and the Tenant Resource Center are not being funded for much needed programs in our community. Tenants outside the City of Madison will have their services cut - which seems to be an unintended consequence of a flawed process. This makes no sense when where are in an affordable housing crisis in this county and renters have faced multiple law changes decimating their rights. Additionally, much needed corrections re-entry transition programs are not being funded, and without them it will lead to re-incarceration which is more expensive for our community. Both programs are not being funded due to a process that many admit was flawed. Please fix the process flaws now, fund these agencies to do this much needed work in the community. 2. Don’t take money from agencies at this late point in the process. Committee members discussed taking funds for the Briarpatch youth shelter to fund Genesis. Our community has long needed a youth shelter that finally opened in October, don't jeopardize this much needed service in our community to fund other needed services 3. Don’t take money from Salvation Army Motel Voucher program to piece together a family overflow program, fully fund family shelter. Salvation Army needs approximately $60,000 to make sure all children in Dane County have a safe place to sleep at night, so no one is turned away. Instead of fully funding this need, this proposal takes $40,000 used to put families in motels, often families who are sick or have special needs such as an autistic child, and then funds a group shelter these families will not be able to use. This is not acceptable. Fully fund the motel vouchers AND the family overflow shelter. You have options. You can fix this. 1. Use the Human Services Funding that gets returned every year to the general fund to fund these critical services in Dane County. At least $1M of the Human Services budget gets returned unspent every year. Last years it was $5M. Much of this money goes to fund law enforcement. Stop this trend. Put the money where it can prevent the need for the costly law enforcement services. This is money that is needed to serve the most vulnerable; to decrease racial disparities and increase equity in our community; to serve those who are slipping between the cracks. 2. Pass a vehicle registration fee. Use the funds from the vehicle registration fee to fund transportation projects and then use freed up levy funds to fund much needed Human Services. 3. Go to referendum for a levy increase. Many in Dane County are willing to pay a bit more to make sure these services, and many more like them, are adequately funded to meet the increasing needs in our community. Many members admitted the RFP process needs to be looked at. You know social service agencies have been suffering for years with no COLA increase while the population grows, the poverty rate increases and funding is stagnant. There is a long list of services that need to be funded and you have to ability to fix this. HHN-O-5 - County Ombudsman position. HHN-O-16b - Fund single women overflow so no single women get turned away. HHN-O-7 - Fund a Housing Development Specialist to help build affordable housing P&F O-8 - Tenant Resource Center housing counseling for renters. HHN - 14 - Genesis case management for Inmates transitioning to the community from jail. PW&T -O-4 - $15 living wage for Alliant Energy Center workers. and many more worthy and much needed programs in our community. Do the right thing. Fund Human Services at a level that is needed in our community. Allow public input on your budget when the real decisions are being made.
Reject CCB Guard Proposal
Public spaces belong to the public. We don't need a guard in our city-county building and we don't need to ticket people for tresspassing in public spaces because they don't have business in the building. If you are concerned about homeless people hanging out there during the day, find a day center that accommodates those needs. It would be a better use of our tax dollars. After three years of scrambling for a warming center, we are disappointed in our elected leadership and their ability to solve this problem, resulting in the worst plan for the winter yet. Pushing people out of public spaces, criminalizing homelessness and failing to provide for our most vulnerable are not Madison and Dane County values. We can do better!