Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus released his 2009 Executive Budget today which cuts 2009 spending by more than $10 million over 2008 projected spending levels and brings 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 property tax rate will be frozen at the 2008 level of $2.29 per $1,000. The 2009 budget was developed with the singular focus of delivering the core programs and services of Dutchess County government while saying “no” to new higher county property taxes.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Many tough decisions had to be made in order to balance this budget, but in the end county government cannot spend what it does not have.”
Appropriations will total $395.7 million for 2009 as compared to 2008 modified appropriations of $405.8 million. 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. County government will remain a lean organization, continuing to effectively operate with fewer county employees than when County Executive Steinhaus first took office in 1992. Staff resources will be realigned and prioritized in order to achieve necessary spending reduction, eliminating forty-three positions including unfortunately nine occupied positions.
The development of the 2009 budget was further challenged by a decrease in the county’s 2009 tax base of more than one billion dollars due to declines in the housing construction market, the overall decline in home values, as well as the reassessment activity over the past few years at the municipal level.
“The 2009 budget was the most challenging budget of my seventeen year tenure as Dutchess County Executive. I believe we have crafted a budget that continues to provide the core programs and services of Dutchess County government. We cut costs and we have not treated taxpayers like an ATM with unlimited funds,” concluded Steinhaus.
County Executive Steinhaus’ full budget message and the complete 2009 Executive Budget will be available online at http://www.dutchessny.gov by Friday evening.