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News Release    

October 29, 2010      

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

Cost Control Saves Taxpayers Dollars

Poughkeepsie… As the November 1st budget submission deadline approaches and final difficult decisions are made, Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus says county cost controls will make a few bright spots in the 2011 Executive Budget.   Thanks to numerous cost saving initiatives taken throughout County Executive Steinhaus’ administration, many cost areas are flat or have  smaller dollar amounts than in past years. 

“Just like the family who has shopped around for the best deal for an important purchase, has clipped coupons to reduce the grocery bill and has taken items out of their household budget to make ends meet, Dutchess County government has been doing the same thing,” said County Executive Steinhaus.

“Our resourceful county staff have been aggressive, looking at operations to see how we can do things differently to save money,” said County Executive Steinhaus.  “Without the compounding impact of these cost savings, our financial situation would be worse and we would have to make up the dollars by cutting more staff and services. 

Some of the cost savings initiatives that have helped to control expenses have included:

  • Consolidated copier contract/elimination of personal desktop printers and fax machines.    Expanding use of multi-purpose copiers with printing, fax and scanning capabilities, eliminating the need for individual desk top printers, separate fax machines and the expensive toner and ink cartridges they require.  Annual taxpayer savings: $250,000

  • New agreement for non-emergency Medicaid Transportation produced improved customer service and taxpayer savings through new fixed rate agreements and more aggressive service review.  Total annual taxpayer savings: $1.25 million

  • Bulk Supply Purchase for Electricity.   Over the past five years, two separate formal requests for bulk electric supply have been conducted.  Extensive research and analysis helps identify cost effective ways to purchase electricity.  Annual taxpayer savings: more than $100,000

  • Juvenile Pretrial Program.  An inter-department collaboration, this program is designed to reduce juvenile detention by providing Family Court with alternatives to detention.   It reduces the number of costly detention beds and increases successful outcomes.  Annual taxpayer savings: $200,000.
     

These initiatives alone represent $2 million in savings and limit additional payroll and service reductions that would have been otherwise required to balance the 2011 budget. 

Other cost initiatives anticipated to bring county property taxpayers significant future savings include:

  • The new Internet Protocol (IP) phone system will bring nearly $2.4 million in savings for property taxpayers.   Annual operating costs of the new system would lower costs by an impressive 61% to $265,000 in the first year and an average 54% reduction over 10 years. Total “net” taxpayer savings will equal nearly $2.4 million.

  • An expected $920,000 expense for the roof replacement at the Dutchess County Public Transit Facility will be reduced down to $154,000, thanks to aggressive efforts to secure federal grant funding. Total local budget savings of nearly $827,000.

  • Offering a new MVP option to all Medicare eligible retirees and their spouses.  The cost of the MVP plan is significantly less than the MVP HMO plan currently offered by the County, for both the retiree and the County.     Cost savings for retirees can range from 21% to as much as 51% off their premium costs with property taxpayers savings ranging from 50% up to 70% per retiree premium.   This new plan could achieve County savings of $425,000 or more annually.

  • Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG)
    County Government earned a $2.3 million grant to fund an energy audit on various county buildings.   Funds will replace  the 45 year old HVAC system at the County Office Building and significantly reduce the County’s carbon footprint for the COB.  Projected annual savings anticipated to be nearly $110,000 annually.

The 2011 Executive Budget proposal will continue to cut other operating expenses and seek savings.    Expenses have been reduced along a variety of expense lines. 

  • Cell phone usage will be reduced
  • County vehicle fleet will be reduced
  • Equipment purchases requests have been cut by more than 75%
  • Employee training and travel will be limited to mandated or mission critical requirements. 

“The most frustrating fact is that despite all of our hard work to continuously find new saving initiatives, these savings are continually swallowed up by the never ending deluge of mandated costs that the State dictates we pay,” said Steinhaus.

 “We are looking at every cost saving option, big and small, in order to get the 2011 budget balanced,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.



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