Board votes to pass county budgets despite 40-minute chant to ‘derail the jail’

The Dane County Board of Supervisors voted to pass a controversial budget Monday night, despite continuous chanting from protesters to “derail the jail.”

Protestors gathered at the meeting to show the board that they do not support a $76 million project to build a consolidated jail facility on top of the Public Safety Building.

The board voted to pass its $538 million operating budget by a 32 to 3 vote and a more than $112 million capital budget by a 31 to 4 vote.

Protestors chanted for about 40 minutes straight at the meeting while the board proceeded with the vote. Chants included “shut it down,” “derail the jail” and more, drowning out the meeting.

County officials have long maintained that the currently City County Building jail is an outmoded, unsafe facility. The proposal would also reduce the number of beds as part of the renovation.

“The time has come that we need to move forward on this. It’s not a safe facility. The jail that’s in the building that we’re sitting in — it’s old, it’s antiquated. It’s not safe for people who live there and it’s not safe for people who work there,” County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan said.

Protesters, on the other hand, argued that the money should be spent toward social programs and incarceration alternatives.

“Instead of putting $100 million in a cage, they could put that $100 million in a treatment center, they could create affordable housing options that provide sustainable housing for people with mental health issues, they can invest in social services programs,” M. Adams, co-director of Freedom Inc., said.

Other topics in the budget include funding for more intervention programs as well as mental health training for 911 dispatchers. The budget also includes funding for lake cleanup.

Board votes to pass county budgets despite 40-minute chant to ‘derail the jail’Board votes to pass county budgets despite 40-minute chant to ‘derail the jail’

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