Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced the 2011 Executive Budget plan will cut spending and freeze property taxes.
“We are, unfortunately, going into the fifth year of a national recession. Homeowners and businesses are hurting and their budgets are squeezed to the breaking point,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “From day one of the budget process, I have been committed to a 2011 goal of a tax cap for county property taxes, despite starting out with a $40 million budget gap.”
Steinhaus explained there is still work to be done on the budget over the weekend before it is finalized and delivered to the Dutchess County Legislature Monday afternoon. “There are remaining details to be ironed out, but we have progressed far enough along to know we have successfully achieved our goal of freezing property taxes and proposing spending cuts,” he said.
“Our biggest challenge has been the crushing weight of the unfunded state mandates forced on us by state legislators,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “Every time we turn around, state politicians are legally mandating county government to spend more money on a state required service or program, leaving us with no budgetary breathing room.”
Steinhaus added, “This budget proposal takes some very aggressive reorganizational steps including the boldest reform effort since 1968 including the consolidation of nine county departments. Additionally, we have implemented steps to save millions of dollars as a result of new efficiencies and streamlining.”
The Executive closed by saying. “To avoid a property tax increase, we must also cut spending to some important services. We know these services are important to residents, but the money simply does not exist to pay for them unless we take more money from property taxpayers’ wallets. With so many people unemployed and struggling to pay their own existing bills, I refuse to take more property tax dollars from them.”
The current 2010 property tax levy of $100.8 million will be capped at the same amount for 2011.