TO: Dutchess County Legislators
FROM: Marcus J. Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive
RE: 2013 Dutchess County Budget
DATE: December 14, 2012
With gratitude and appreciation, I return the 2013 Dutchess County Budget signed with no vetoes. This bipartisan budget begins a multi-year transformation of Dutchess County Government while remaining under the New York State property tax cap.
The Dutchess County Administrative Code requires the County Executive to develop a tentative budget plan and deliver it to the County Legislature for consideration and review. However, the 2013 Dutchess County Budget was truly developed in partnership with you, as well as so many of our other stakeholders.
It was a long process that began early in the year. We hosted more than twenty formal meetings and/or sessions, in addition to the countless conversations, one-on-one meetings, phone calls and emails, all designed to engage as many people as possible in order to deliver a product that incorporates stakeholder input and molds consensus.
We began in April with education sessions to ensure Legislators, Department Heads, and County Elected officials had a clear understanding of the budget process and the fiscal challenges facing Dutchess County Government. Throughout the summer and fall, we held meetings and provided presentations for non-profit organizations, union leadership, the legislative caucuses, various chambers of commerce, media, as well as local mayors and supervisors. We reached out to the public with our online budget survey and multiple public forums to hear their priorities, concerns and ideas. We are grateful to all of those who participated in the process. The final budget is reflective of the feedback, input and ideas of all that contributed.
We should be exceptionally thankful to the elected leaders of our towns, villages and cities for their service, contribution and sacrifice. So too are we grateful to Dutchess County employees who work hard every day on behalf of the people of our community. In particular, I extend my thanks to CSEA President Liz Piraino for her forthright representation of her membership and for their willingness to sacrifice and cooperate throughout this budget development. CSEA, DCPBA, DCSEA and NYSUT members all serve our residents well and for that, we are grateful.
The amendment offered by Minority Leader Jeter-Jackson and Legislators White, MacAvery, Forman as well as Chairman Rolison to add $1 million in funding to the Municipal Consolidation and Shared Services Grant Program was a reasonable compromise that will provide a mechanism whereby the municipalities who have been most severely impacted in 2013 by the loss of sales tax revenue can minimize their loss.
Compromises such as this amendment, where various stakeholders shared their concerns and offered alternatives, make this such a strong financial plan – and a product we can all be proud of.
As noted, the resolution I return to you today, signed, contains no vetoes. In fact, I have not issued a single veto this year. While there may come a time when we disagree on policy, I believe our unified and concerted effort to collaborate and cooperate has led to a new culture; one where we can debate issues through civil dialogue and make consensus-oriented decisions that are focused, logical, inclusive and fair.
Let there be no question – we have set an example; we have developed a budget that will meet the needs of our county residents; we have established a firm foundation for future years; and, we have set in motion a multi-year transformation of government.
Thank you for your partnership in the budget process and throughout this entire year. I look forward to continued success in 2013 with you.
I wish you, as I do all residents of Dutchess County, a Happy Holiday Season, a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year!
c: Adrian Anderson, Sheriff
James Coughlan, Comptroller
William Grady, District Attorney
Brad Kendall, County Clerk
Elizabeth Pirano, CSEA Union President