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News Release    

November 20, 2008      

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

Legislature Misses Key Budget Deadlines
Legislature must now fill $11.4 million hole to balance 2009 budget

Poughkeepsie… The Dutchess County Legislature is now more than halfway through the 2009 budget adoption process and legislators have taken no action on any of the policy decisions that, as addressed in County Executive Steinhaus’ budget message of October 31st, needed to be made prior to the deadlines outlined in the budget message to balance the 2009 Budget. 

“The failure by the Democrat Leadership to act on any of these policy decisions has now left an $11.4 million deficit in the 2009 budget which the Legislature will need to fill in order to adopt a balanced budget as required by law,” said County Executive Steinhaus.

In order to achieve the goal of crafting a budget that included no new higher county property taxes, County Executive Steinhaus’ 2009 budget proposal required prompt action in early November on several critical policy decisions.  All of those deadlines have been missed.  The policy decisions, financial impact and legislative deadline are outlined below:

Resolution of Intent for Funding of Dutchess County Sheriff’s Road Patrols
• Impact to 2009 budget:  $4.7 million
• Deadline for action:   Early November, prior to town budget adoptions.   No action.  Deadline passed.

Resolution of Intent for Employee Contracts – Suspend Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in 2009 budget
• Impact to 2009 budget: $3.4 million
• Deadline for action:  November 12th.   No action.  Deadline passed.

Resolution of Intent for Funding of the Costs of Elections Resulting from State Mandated Implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
• Impact to 2009 budget:  $1.3 million
• Deadline for action: Early November, prior to town budget adoptions.   No action.  Deadline passed.

Legislative leadership efforts to work with state officials for reinstatement of the variance to allow up to 318 inmates in the Dutchess County Jail to avoid costly expense of housing out.
• Impact to 2009 budget: $2 million
• Deadline for action: immediately.  No known action taken.

“The Legislature’s Democrat Majority is ignoring the fiscal realities we are facing,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “Democrat Legislative leaders have avoided these tough decisions required to balance the budget and have created a huge budget deficit with their inaction.   Indefensibly, they waited nearly two weeks after receiving the budget proposal to even hold their first formal meeting.  Democrats have offered no alternative proposals to balance the 2009 budget and have spent the majority of their meeting time looking for ways to add millions more in spending!”

In his budget message, the County Executive had encouraged the Legislature to begin the budget review process immediately and add additional earlier review meetings to the original schedule to allow for a complete, comprehensive budget review and critical decision making including the passage of these resolutions.

 “I can relate to the frustration of Governor Paterson who, to address the fiscal challenges, has been actively trying to get action from his colleagues in the State Legislature and has been roadblocked,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “We face the same difficulty here in Dutchess County.   I have put forward several tough choices that necessitated Legislative action and discussion.   Yet, the Democrat Majority chose not to act thereby creating more serious budget problems and an $11.4 million deficit in the framework of the 2009 budget.   It seems the Democrats’ main focus is how they can spend more taxpayer dollars.”

County Executive Steinhaus concluded,   “This budget is an opportunity for real change and reform to how the County does business as both the economic realities and our property taxpayers demand.  But unfortunately it appears the Legislature’s Democrat Majority leadership has chosen to ignore the fiscal reality we face and continue their ingrained habit of more spending, higher property taxes.” 


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Last Updated: 11/20/2008