Poughkeepsie… On Monday, November 1st, Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus released his 2011 Executive Budget plan, cutting 2011 spending by $2.7 million below the 2010 projected spending levels and freezes the property tax levy at its 2010 level of $100.8 million. County government share of property taxes levied across the county is only 14 percent of all property taxes collected.
“Taxpayers across this country went to the polls on Election Day and said loudly they want smaller government, less government spending and they want their public officials to reject higher taxes,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
“Within hours of the release of my Executive Budget, we have already heard indications from legislative leaders that they may not have the resolve to cut spending,” said Steinhaus. “As Executive, I am looking for legislative partners who want to work with me and our struggling taxpayers and have the courage to say no to the demands to spend more money on special interests and add to the public payroll.”
Steinhaus continued, “I hope legislators will not ignore the taxpayer outcry against increased government spending heard so loudly in the election results.”
“Under my budget plan, in 2011, Dutchess County government will not collect one single cent more in total property taxes than it does today,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
Real Property Tax Director Kathy Myers said “As property values decrease, the tax rate must increase proportionately in order to collect the same amount of money. Because the County has seen its tax base of property values shrink by $2.8 billion, even a frozen levy produces a slightly higher tax rate, but that higher rate will be applied to lower assessments.”
The effect the frozen tax levy will have on individual tax bills will vary from town to town based on local assessments and state equalization rates, both factors beyond the county’s control. To provide some context in raw dollar amounts, the following are the tax impact for randomly selected properties valued at or about $280,000 (current median value for single family home), representing various geographical areas of Dutchess County.
||Old Glenham Road
According to Kathy Myers, three factors determine the amount of county tax a property will pay; the tax levy, the share of the tax levy apportioned to each municipality, and the individual property assessment. "With County Executive Steinhaus’ freeze on the property tax levy, homeowners whose property is worth approximately $280,000 could actually see a decrease in their county tax of up to $75 or an increase of up to the same dollar amount."
To freeze property taxes for 2011, County Executive Steinhaus’ budget plan includes the merger and consolidation of nine departments into just 4, the elimination of 6 Department Head positions, reduction in services and programs and corresponding reduction in workforce, with 101 position eliminations which unfortunately includes 63 layoffs.
The Executive Budget Plan is now in the hands of the Dutchess County Legislature. Public comment on the budget began last night at a special public hearing. “We have already seen special interest groups come out in force, advocating for money to be added to the 2011 budget for their specific cause,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “But we have also heard more than ever from the ‘Silent Majority’ who want to see government cut spending.”
Steinhaus continued, “What county legislators will have to decide over the next six weeks is how much more taxpayer money are legislators willing to spend and how much will legislators raise the property tax bill for homeowners and businesses?”
“We have listened to taxpayer complaints and we have responded with a budget plan that freezes the property levy and cuts spending,” concluded Steinhaus.
To learn more about County Executive Steinhaus 2011 Executive Budget plan, go online to www.dutchessny.gov to read his complete Budget Message and view the 2011 Budget plan document.