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Dane County board pilots tool to help people understand the budget process

MADISON (WKOW) — Dane County officials are hoping to help people better understand the complicated budget process.

On Friday, County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan, Supervisor Patrick Miles and Supervisor Yogesh Chawla, announced ‘A Balancing Act.’ The online budget simulation tool is used in conjunction with a video designed to inform the public on the various services the county provides, and the challenges in making the trade-offs each year when working on the budget.

(Try the tool HERE.)

‘A Balancing Act’ is used by 60 local governments nationwide. The tool allows people to simulate balancing the 2020 budget. The dollar figures in the simulation are from the Dane County budget proposed by County Executive Parisi last week.

“As one of the most important items the county board works on each year, we want to make sure the residents of Dane County understand what we do, and how we make decisions,” said Chair Corrigan (Middleton, District 26).

The county board also created a short video meant to provide a high-level overview of the budget process and ways for residents to get involved.

“The budget reflects all that the county does for residents but it can be difficult to get your arms around it,” remarked Supervisor Miles, Chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee (McFarland, District 34).  “We’re excited to provide A Balancing Act as a tool to increase awareness around the budget process while providing another way for the public to have an input,” he continued.

The budget educational items are a part of the Board’s engagement initiative – Engage Dane, to facilitate engagement among the residents of Dane County and the County Board.

In addition to A Balancing Act and the budget video, one-page handouts on the budget process were put in all of the libraries in Dane County.

The County Board will also hold their hearing on the proposed 2020 budget Wednesday, October 16th at 7:00 in room 201 of the City-County Building.

“I’m excited to be able to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the budget because it affects everyone who lives in Dane County,” said Supervisor Yogesh Chawla (Madison, District 6), who is a part of the team that helped shape the Engage Dane initiative.  “We need to continue to find innovative and inclusive ways to engage the public.  This year is a great opportunity to provide new educational tools which will hopefully lead not only to increased awareness, but also to continued and deeper engagement in the future.” Chawla concluded.

All of the educational tools are available on the Dane County Board’s website here.


Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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