For More Information:William R. Steinhaus
For Immediate ReleaseOctober 30, 2000
Mandates Increase Spending:
Services To Children & Families Improve with No New Taxes
Poughkeepsie -- Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus will submit a Year 2001 Executive Budget to the Legislature which includes a broad array of services for the residents of Dutchess County in the areas of health, mental health, and social services. The Year 2001 Steinhaus Executive Budget will propose no new property taxes -- the sixth budget in nine years with no property tax increase. The 2001 Executive Budget will propose a property tax levy lower than when Steinhaus first took office in 1992.
According to the County Executive, more than 40,000 people in Dutchess County receive direct services and support from the Department of Social Services through such programs as Medicaid, day care, child support, food stamps, children’s services, and Temporary Assistance, and more than 53,000 people in the county receive direct services from the Department of Health through such programs as home health care, education and early intervention for very young children, restaurant, water and camp inspections and flu and other clinics.
The proposed Year 2001 Executive Budget will include:
$13.6 million for Dutchess County Foster Care programs which serves 450 young people (reflecting an increase in the daily foster care rates paid to foster parents);
$5.215 million in day care allocations for 1,100 children, an increase of $415,000 over this year; $1.8 million for the child support unit which services 15,000 people;
$1.6 million for the Food Stamp program which serves more than 6700 people in the county; and 1600 families participate in the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) which has more than $1.1 million appropriated in the Year 2001 Executive Budget.
Thousands more residents are touched through programs the county contracts for with local not-for-profit providers. The Year 2001 budget allocates $2.1 million in TANF Surplus dollars to be spent on children in need and child enrichment initiatives, education and workforce development, domestic violence assessment and intensive services, work-related transportation, housing and family development training programs all intended to assist families in transition from welfare dependency to self-sufficiency and independence.
"Medicaid, often referred to as the ‘mother of all mandates’, will cost Dutchess County homeowners and businesses almost $35 million dollars in local taxes alone. However, the total cost of Medicaid in Dutchess County, for Dutchess County residents is more than $200 million dollars!" said Steinhaus. "The remainder of the $200 million total Medicaid cost is covered by state and federal shares, which of course are also derived from taxes we, the working families of Dutchess County, pay."
Steinhaus pointed out, "Also budgeted is $500,000 for Part ‘B’ Medicare and other health related premiums for elderly in need, as well as $2.5 million dollars for mandated medical transportation services -- services provided to the elderly, the young, and the needy in our county."
Mandated Medicaid costs are increasing an average of 12% annually for counties outside New York City according to the New York State Public Welfare Association. Dutchess County is estimating a 6% increase which is attributed to higher costs for prescription drugs; increases in inpatient costs; and nursing home costs which account for more than 37%, or approximately $74 million, of the total Medicaid dollars spent in the county. It is estimated 1,200 Child Health Plus recipients will be switched to Medicaid (as required by the state), and the new Family Health Plus program will begin.
The Executive Budget will also propose for the second year in a row $500,000 be approved for the Childrens’ Health Initiative launched this year to develop information and education outreach to teach children the dangers of smoking.
The Executive Budget includes $500,000 in West Nile Virus appropriations for the continuation of our surveillance program that serves as our "early warning system" and larviciding program to reduce the number of mosquitoes that pose the threat of disease. In addition we have earmarked up to $3 million in reserve for potential adulticiding.
Increases in caseload in the mandated Transportation and Education to Children (T & E) and Early Intervention Programs (EIP) will again require the county to increase our contribution significantly in 2001. The T&E program will increase from $9.83 million to $10.57 million. The net cost to the county will increase from $3.68 million to $3.975 million, a mandated increase of 8%. The EIP program will increase from $4 million to $4.475 million. The net cost to the county will increase from $1.5 million to $1.7 million, a mandated increase of 13%.
Finally, according to information from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Dutchess County Department of Social Services achieved a gross cost avoidance of $4.75 million, (of which $1.58 million is the county share) during the period of April 1999 through March 2000. Since 1992, when New York State developed a mechanism to identify and track cost avoidance statistics, Dutchess County has saved more than $49 million, the county share of which is $16.9 million.
County Executive Steinhaus said, "As we in Dutchess County strengthen our focus on making a difference in the lives of families, we continue to work with others to come up with creative and cost effective ways to deliver mandated services required by the state and federal governments. Through the use of collaborative approaches and long range planning, our human service professionals are expert at tailoring flexible grant dollars to areas and populations in need -- locally identified and locally delivered -- to ensure the future good health and productivity of our entire community and all our residents."
2000 Press Releases