Brown County Executive reveals 2018 budget proposal

Published: Sep. 29, 2017 at 5:33 PM CDT
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Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach revealed his 2018 budget proposal with several big additions, including an OWI treatment court, more funding for mental health and more space to house inmates in the jail.

Because the jail is so full, right now Brown County is paying to have about fifty inmates shipped elsewhere. The 2018 budget proposal wants to put an end to what officials say is a waste of money by adding onto the jail, making it big enough to house 124 inmates. The jail would also gain a second full-time mental health worker, which the sheriff says is long overdue.

"I'm satisfied with what's in the budget with what the county executive has put in there, and we're going to continue to work to try to reduce that inmate footprint through the criminal justice court and board and other initiatives,” said Sheriff John R. Gossage of the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

The Streckenbach hopes part of the full jail issue will be solved with something new: an OWI treatment court for fourth-time drunk driving offenders. He says right now there are about thirty people who could be in that program.

"The individual who has made the fourth offense- they probably have more issues in terms of addiction that are needed to address it because obviously the arm of the law has not helped this individual,” said Streckenbach.

“We have a lot of individuals that are not only fourth OWI but we're seeing fifth, sixth, seventh and even higher in some instances. So I think it's a great step to try to get some treatment for those individuals and then try to take them away from the in-jail bed spaces they're taking up,” said Gossage.

Other money has been budgeted to rebuild the Veteran's Memorial Arena, give more space to the airport for bigger air crafts, move the County Health Department, and begin a 24-hour supervised home for foster kids.