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News Release    

November 1, 2006      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Steinhaus Releases 2007 County Budget

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus released the 2007 Executive Budget today that freezes the property tax rate and strictly limits spending growth at 2.6%, or 37% below the inflation rate of 4.1%. The Dutchess County government share of the typical property tax bill is estimated to be 14%.

“This Executive budget maintains the core services and programs vital to our county residents, and offers a few new promising initiatives – all while holding the County government tax rate flat,” County Executive Steinhaus said.  “The best way to control taxes is to control spending, and that’s why we must continue to resist efforts to be all things to all people and avoid the county government becoming the funder of last resort.”

Appropriations will total $387.5 M for 2007.  Major appropriations in the 2007 proposed budget include $37 million, or a $1.1 million increase for the state-mandated Medicaid program; $21 million, or a startling increase of almost 14% to the state-mandated Preschool Special Education and Early Intervention programs; $2.3 million for the state mandated court-ordered assigned counsel fees; $11.2 million in pension costs; nearly $20 million in employee health insurance costs; $4.3 million in net service fees, or county subsidy to the Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency for solid waste disposal services; and a 7% increase in utility costs.

The financial foundation of the Dutchess County budget continues to be threatened by escalating costs for operational and mandated activities.

“Dutchess County government simply cannot sustain the huge loss of revenue caused by the state sales tax exemption on clothing – not if we are to continue to provide the programs and services so important and necessary to our residents while controlling the fiscal burden on property taxpayers.” Steinhaus emphasized, “Given the unpleasant choice of the property tax rate going up, or ending the sales tax waiver, I rejected a higher property tax rate.” 

Absent the return of the sales tax on clothing and the mandate mortgage tax, the additional $12 million needed to balance the budget would increase the property tax rate 14%.  Steinhaus concluded, “The potential of a 14% increase in the property tax rate is unacceptable.”


2007 Dutchess County Budget Highlights

State Mandates & Other Directed Costs:

    • Medicaid – $37 M, increase of $1.1 M
    • Preschool Education & Early Intervention -- $21 M, increase of 13.5%
    • Court-ordered Assigned Counsel Fees - $2.3 M
    • Employee Health Insurance – Increase to $20 M, reflecting $1M savings as a result of implementation of a new plan
    • Resource Recovery Agency Subsidy - $4.3 M
    • Utilities– 7% Increase over 2006


    Targeted Areas:

      • Children’s Health Initiative - $525,000 for Tobacco Use Prevention and Childhood Obesity research-based prevention programs
      • Veterans – Continued support for public information efforts and Veterans Information Day
      • Economic Development Agency and Tourism Promotion -  Nearly $1 M
      • Parks – Enhanced security and safety efforts as well as additional improvements at all County parks (dependent on Legislative support and approval of $4.9 M Parks Bond now before the Legislature)
      • DC Youth Gang Prevention - $115,000 for continuation of the prevention programming for “at risk” youth initiated in 2006
      • Cancer Control Council - $60,000 for continued development and implementation of a local Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan
      • Early Childhood Coordinated Children’s Services – Continuation of services coordinated by Astor Home for Children for children birth to age 4 who are at risk for foster care placement or abuse and maltreatment
      • Healthy Baby/Safe Baby Initiative – Continuation of awareness on life-saving information on caring for babies and children, such as shaken baby syndrome


    New Initiatives:

      • Enhanced Environmental Coordination and Focus – $200,000 for Environmental Coordinator position, community education efforts, and departmental reorganization
      • Senior Transportation Workshop- $20,000 for study to improve transportation strategies for senior population
      • Sheriff – Two additional Sheriff’s Deputy positions to meet new demands
      • LiveScan Fingerprint Workstations – For the Sheriff’s major sub-stations in the towns of Wappinger, Rhinebeck, Beekman, and Amenia
      • Handicapped Parking Outreach Campaign – Additional $10,000 to benefit and support physically challenged drivers and passengers
      • "CLD on Demand” – For County Clerk to improve commercial driver’s license testing process

    Revenue:

      • Property Tax Rate – Remains same rate as 2006 at $2.57
      • Sales Tax - $125.65M, includes elimination of clothing exemption
      • Mandate Mortgage Tax – To change from 1% to 1¼% to help deal with structural imbalance in county budget due to escalating costs for mandated and operation activities

     



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    Last Updated: 11/1/2006