For More Information:
William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
For Immediate Release
January 31, 2002
Dutchess County Executive William R.
Annual Report to Legislature
Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus today released
his 2002 Report of Dutchess County Finances & Activities of the Executive
Branch of County Government to the Dutchess County Legislature as required
by the Dutchess County Charter. Highlights of the report include:
Dutchess County Government Was Prepared for the Recession of 2001!
- Steinhaus reform agenda during past decade made it possible
to both employ a smaller workforce today than in the 1980’s and also cut the
previous rate of expenditure growth.
- Unlike other governments that became bloated with pet
programs that sounded good in a strong economy, Dutchess County, for the most
part, remained focused on its traditional core mission.
- The majority of county legislators rejected an ill-advised
proposed sales tax exemption that would have decreased expected annual sales
tax revenue which would have required a 12% property tax increase to maintain
essential county programs and services.
- Decision to accumulate fund balance over several years
provides cushion for the “rainy days” of 2001, 2002, and likely 2003.
- 2002 Budget cuts property taxes for seventh time in the ten
budgets under the Steinhaus administration.
- County government tax levy lower in 2002 than in 1989.
Dutchess County Financial Statistics Compare Favorably With Other New
York State Counties!
- Dutchess County per capita property taxes are 17% below
- Dutchess County per capita spending is 24% below statewide
- Dutchess County property taxes represent only 23% of
- Dutchess County indebtedness represents a mere 9% of
Dutchess County Bond Rating Remains Strong!
- Dutchess County is one of only two New York State counties
to earn Aa1 bond rating.
- Dutchess County bond anticipation notes earn highest rating
- Moody’s Investors Service cited Dutchess County’s stable
financial position, improved liquidity, ending fund balance, expanding
economy, renewed job growth and our manageable debt position.
New York State Budget Has Direct Impact on Dutchess County’s Finances
- 2001-2002 New York State “baseline” budget (which was
adopted in August and supplemented in October and November) omitted $450,000
to maintain county roads and $700,000 for Dutchess Community College—the
budget and property tax impacts for which will certainly be compounded in
- State passed landmark health care initiative which could
increase Dutchess County’s mandated Medicaid costs by $1.4 million over three
years if State’s financing plan does not materialize.
- Mandated Medicaid expenses thrust upon New York State
counties total $.73 of each dollar paid by taxpayers to support Dutchess
2002 is a year of Fiscal Uncertainty
- While not demanding the extraordinary budgetary reduction
measures necessitated by the IBM downsizing of the early 90’s, 2002 will
require close attention nonetheless.
- County Executive Steinhaus is preparing to implement 2002
budget controls as may be required, such as the setting of departmental quotas
- Good faith bargaining will continue with employee unions to
reach agreements that are fair and equitable to our highly valued and
dedicated employees and to the property taxpayers of Dutchess County and
within the context of the current economy.
- Dutchess County Legislature is called upon to exercise
caution in creating new cost centers or expanding current ones; to resist
initiatives which supplement or supplant dried-up state and federal revenues
with local tax dollars; and to reject those voices that unwisely advocate
spending down the County’s “rainy day” fund balance.
County Executive will deliver his State of the County Address on
Wednesday, February 6, 2002 before the Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce at
7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Fishkill.
2002 Press Releases