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News Release    

November 1, 2004      


Steinhaus Releases 2005 County Budget
State Mandates Drive Costs

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus released the 2005 Budget today where local property tax payers will again feel the burden of dictated state mandates.

County Executive Steinhaus said, “For the past several budgets we have been short changing our departmental budgets just so we could meet New York State mandates including Medicaid, pension costs and other human service mandates, to a point where our ability to fund the local service priorities we value for our residents has eroded.  This year’s budget is designed to reform, restructure and realign our operations to catch up from decisions in the past that simply are no longer sustainable.”

In the 2005 proposed budget, Medicaid is projected at $50.5 million dollars, another double-digit increase over this year’s projected cost, reflecting a 61 percent increase since the year 2000!  During a recent week, the week of September 30th, Dutchess County paid $1.5 million to New York State for the county’s share of one week of Medicaid expense.

“We have remained focused on the principle that every dollar we spend today is two dollars we don’t have to spend tomorrow,” said Steinhaus. “We must reallocate dollars to targeted areas that are critical for the quality of life of our residents and enable us to improve outcomes for local families receiving services.”

2005 Dutchess County Budget Highlights

Mandates:
      
       Medicaid Mandate - $50.5 Million, up $19 Million since 2000 or a 61% increase
       Child Institution/Foster Care - $24.8 Million, up $11.2 Million since 2000 or a 83 % increase
       Employee Pension Costs - $11.3 Million up $10 Million since 2002

Targeted Areas of Compelling Need:

       Health and Human Services Cabinet – create a new cross systems approach to programming and evaluation in six departments
       Domestic Violence Program – Coordination of services and restructuring to maximize revenues.  Projected $1.6 Million savings in 2004-2005. 
       Child Preventive Program – Realigning resources to strengthen families on the front end of the system to prevent higher costs to taxpayers at the    back end. Adding probation officers; one to work with the Family Court Diversion Unit, and one for Community Transitions Center to work with schools to address gang activity, as well as funding for a GED teacher.
       Restoration of funding to Youth Bureau - Youth Asset Initiative; endorsed by the Criminal Justice Council and the Children’s Services Council
       Health Department - public health engineer and public health technician to handle backlog of plan review and work on water quality enhancements.
       Emergency Response - E-911 quality assurance coordinator to handle call protocols and a dispatcher to assist with abundance of cellular E-911 calls.
       DPW – Highway Division – Staff additions and added equipment for maintenance to roads and bridges; offset by new vehicle use fee
       Medical Examiner’s Program – add Deputy Medical Examiner and resources
       Employee Health Insurance - $16 Million up $5.8 Million since 2000 or 56%
       Technology – Equipment and IS position at Department of Social Services, Mental Hygiene billing systems, GIS, Board of Elections software,   Financial Management System, Criminal Justice Management System

New Initiatives:

       County Historian to preserve and record our rich heritage and make it accessible to residents
       Quiet Cove Riverfront Park and enhancements to all County owned parks
       Lyme Disease International Conference to be held in County – Joint Initiative with Dutchess County Legislature in conjunction with the Institute for Ecosystems Studies

Revenues:

       Sales Tax               $126.9M projected, 3.7% growth
       Vehicle Use Fee*    $5/year for vehicles less than 3,500 lbs.
                                         $10/year for vehicles over 3,500 lbs.
                                         4/1/04 implementation
                                         Projected Total Revenue $1.1 Million
          *This registration fee exists in 26 other counties.
       Mandate Mortgage Tax
                                         .25% increase
                                         6/1/04 implementation
                                         Projected Total Revenue $3.3 Million



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Last Updated: 11/3/2004