Dane Co. 2022 budget focuses on challenges of COVID-19, mental health, climate change and more

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County leaders announced Friday their 2022 budget plan which includes nearly $750 million to address the pandemic, mental health, climate change and a number of wide-reaching issues.

Parisi said the budget’s priorities will help provide public services the community needs.

“My 2022 budget meets the challenges we face with a strategic focus on the health and well-being of our people and protection of the resources and places that define us,” Parisi said. “Dane County government will continue to lead with progressive, innovative templates for public services that meet the needs of our communities and our people. I’m proud of the opportunity to present this budget and believe it reflects values and priorities of our community.”

The 2022 operating budget totals $659.6 million and the capital spending plan totals $88.2 million. The largest single expense is for the construction of the new Crisis Triage Center Parisi announced earlier this week.


Included in Parisi’s budget is $5.25 million in American Rescue Plan funds for unknown pandemic-related expenses that may emerge in the coming year. The budget also includes nearly $28 million to help stock local food pantry shelves, house people experiencing homelessness,  jumpstart affordable housing projects and more.

Of that, $8.2 million is set to go toward the county’s Hotels to Housing program which helps people experiencing homelessness with housing searches, case management and funds to help pay for housing. The multi-agency partnership aims to help up to 297 households.

Mental Health

Earlier this week, Parisi announced $10 million in funding for a Crisis Triage Center which he said will combat behavioral health issues while helping people stay out of the criminal justice system.

The budget also includes extra funding for Building Bridges, a school-based mental health program that provides behavioral health recourses to support over-worked school counselors and mental health professionals.

Dane County’s Behavioral Health Resource Center will also get an additional $440,000 in funding to hire more staff at the center, bringing the county’s annual fund contribution to more than $1.2 million.

Public Safety

In addition to a previously announced plan to equip Dane County Sheriff’s Office squad cars with tablets connecting deputies with mental health professionals, the 2022 budget includes $119,000 for a new detective in the sheriff’s office who will investigate sex trafficking crimes.

Climate Change & Water Quality

With climate change’s impacts becoming more apparent due to flooding, fires and extreme temperatures throughout the world, Parisi said he’s investing millions to help make Dane County more resilient to its future effects.

His latest budget includes an additional $500,000 for the county’s Suck the Muck program which aims to rid area waterways of phosphorus-soaked sediment.

RELATED: ‘We all have a responsibility to act now’: Dane County aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030

Roughly $3 million is included to dredge parts of the Yahara River and Lake Kegonsa to help with flood risk reduction in the waterways. Parisi’s focus on climate and water also includes funding to create cleaner and safer swimming areas and expand the county’s lake weed harvesting program.

Quality of Life

A combined $4.1 million will go toward connecting local bike paths, repairing existing ones, improving local parks and other nature restoration efforts.

Read Parisi’s full 2022 Budget Memo here.