Poughkeepsie… Being proactive to meet the realities of the national economic and financial situation, Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today his 2009 proposed budget plan will cut 2009 spending by more than $10 million over 2008 projected spending levels. The 2009 budget will also bring the property tax levy down $2.8 million or 3.2% to $85.3 million compared to the 2008 levy of $88.1 million. The 2009 budget must be released by November 1, and as announced Wednesday will cut the amount of property taxes needed to operate county government.
“This budget has included a lot of hard choices, choices that I wish I did not have to make,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “The fiscal realities of the economy have forced us to take an unprecedented approach to this budget and reexamine every area of spending. We have concentrated our limited resources on the core mission of county government.”
Spending reductions have been made across various and diverse operational budget lines in departments throughout county government to minimize adverse impacts to Dutchess County property taxpayers. The Executive said, “County government will be smaller and have fewer county employees in 2009 to avoid a county property tax increase. We’ll have to work smarter and do more with less. We can’t spend money we don’t have and taxpayers don’t have to give.”
Some other spending cuts include:
The budget development process included rethinking across county government, from the most traditional functions to programs and services that have been added in over the years, but have not achieved the desired outcomes. “Faced with limited and declining revenues, taxpayers should not be asked to pay for duplication and overlap in service areas,” said Steinhaus. “Our restructuring of the County’s health, social and human service delivery system has achieved greater efficiency, improved program effectiveness, and most importantly, saved taxpayers money. This budget seeks to continue that efficiency and eliminate duplication and overlap in services.”
According to Steinhaus, “the guiding principle throughout the budget development was to remain focused on delivering the core programs and services of Dutchess County government and not ask county property taxpayers to pay more in their county government property tax bill.”
“We believe this budget proposal maintains the core programs and services of Dutchess County government while responding to taxpayers’ demands that government cuts its spending just like taxpayers have had to cut their own,” said Steinhaus.