Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus released his 2008 Executive Budget today which reduces the county government property tax rate 16% and decreases the tax levy 5% (amount collected countywide from property taxes.) The Executive Budget reigns in spending growth to 2%, which is well below the rate of inflation. The Dutchess County government share of the property taxes collected across the county continues to shrink and is estimated to be 13%.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Dutchess County continues to be a dynamic and successful community. We have invested in numerous proactive and strategic programs and services over the years that have positioned County government and our community to succeed. We will continue to support these core programs and we will focus on key initiatives to benefit our county residents – all while considerably reducing the tax rate as well as the levy for property taxpayers.”
Appropriations will total $394 million for 2008. Some major appropriations in the 2008 proposed budget include $39.5 million, or an increase of more than $2 million for the state-mandated Medicaid program; nearly $21 million for the state-mandated Preschool Special Education and Early Intervention programs; and an 11% increase in utility costs.
“We continue to work to strike the balance between providing important services to our residents and offering tax relief to property owners,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “The programs and services we provide focus on some of the most important priorities for our community – enhancing our quality of life, preserving open space and ensuring community health particularly for our children and seniors.” Some of the 2008 key programs and services include the continued commitment to the prevention of children’s tobacco use. The funding for tobacco prevention has contributed to a 33% decrease in tobacco use among Southern Dutchess teens according to research done by the Choices for Change Coalition. Funding will also be devoted to the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program to help reduce the risk of cancer in our community through mini-grants and public outreach efforts.
The 2008 budget is designed to continue to strengthen communities with funding to preserve open space with a new, innovative Inter-municipal Land Conservancy Project. The County will host a “Sustainable Living Communities” Inter-municipal Conference to focus on healthy community development. County Executive Steinhaus has continued to make significant investments in Economic Development and Tourism Promotion to continue job expansion and retention, new business recruitment and support the tourism industry which contributes significantly to the local economy.
“Our 2008 budget reflects our bold vision for Dutchess County. We are maximizing our use of every tax dollar. County governments continue to face major fiscal challenges including State mandates beyond our control. As always, we manage these challenges to the best of our ability. The tight spending constraint we exercise and our outstanding team of county employees are the most important factors in our ability to reduce both the property tax rate and the tax levy in spite of the challenges we face,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.
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2008 Dutchess County Budget Highlights
State Mandates & Other Non-Discretionary Costs:
- Medicaid: $39.5M
- Preschool Education & Early Intervention: $21M
- Employee Health Insurance: $20.7M
- Employee Pension Costs: $9.1M
- Resource Recovery Agency Subsidy: $5M
- Utilities: 11% increase over 2007
- Veterans: New veterans counselor and transportation funding.
- Environmental Protection & Preservation
- Inter-municipal Land Conservancy Project: $75,000 to preserve open space.
- Comprehensive Well Water Testing: next phases of ongoing project.
- Economic Development Agency and Tourism Promotion: $1.1 M including $100,000 for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration
- Children’s Health Initiative: $525,000 for Tobacco Use Prevention and Childhood Obesity Prevention.
- Child Protective Services – additional case workers: $200,000.
- Comprehensive Cancer Control Program: $110,000 to reduce the risk of cancer.
- HEART Safe Community Program: $25,000 for 12 additional automated external defibrillators (AED).
- Senior Transportation Coordinator: $20,000 for Phase II of Senior Transportation Study.
- DC Youth Gang Prevention: $115,000 to continue prevention programming.
- Sheriff: Two additional Sheriff’s Deputy positions to ensure public safety.
- Providing Emergency Responders with the Tools They Need: $370,000 including resources for emergency first responder training and equipment.
- Parks and Infrastructure: including development of Quiet Cove Riverfront Park.
- Inter-municipal Conference “Sustainable Living Communities:” healthy community development to combat obesity-related illness and serve the needs of seniors.
Key Budget Facts:
- Property Tax Rate: Reduced by 16% to $2.17, lowest county tax rate since 1973.
- Property Tax Levy: 5% reduction
- Spending change: 2%, well below the rate of inflation.
- Fewer County Employees in 2008 than when County Executive Steinhaus took office in 1992.