Paul Rusk, District 12 Supervisor

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The very important budget season started. Our process includes several opportunities for the public to comment. Over half of the Dane County budget goes to fund programs for vulnerable families, children, persons with disabilities and seniors, so we have a special night just for this. As we move to family care as mandated by state government, I am very concerned about services for the elderly and those with developmental disabilities. In my work as director of the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance, I am very aware how government can make a huge difference for those with any form of dementia, and I remain skeptical how the required changes will improve quality. We will continue to do what we can on the local level to make things run as smoothly as possible.

I anticipate the county executive will include planning dollars for renovation of the Public Safety Building jail in his 2018 budget request so we can close the unsafe 1954 Alcatraz-era City County Building jail and add the programming and special needs health beds we need to treat everybody humanely. We need continued reform of the entire criminal justice system, but simultaneously inmates and staff must be safe. And we must end the unconscionable use of solitary confinement. If the county executive does not include the dollars, the Public Protection & Judiciary Committee I chair will advance a budget amendment to the full Dane County Board.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the 2018 budget or any other issue relating to Dane County government should feel free to contact me at 249-9667 or email rusk@countyofdane.com.