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The 2019 Dutchess County Budget was adopted last night in a 19-5 bipartisan vote by the Dutchess County Legislature. The budget was adopted with several amendments to Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro’s Proposed County Budget. The budget reduces the county property tax levy for the fifth consecutive year and lowers the property tax rate for a fourth year from $3.54 to $3.45 per $1,000 of true value assessments while maintaining the County’s fiscal stability and essential services.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The 2019 Dutchess County Budget addresses critical community needs while yet again easing the tax burden for residents and local businesses. I am grateful to the Dutchess County Legislature for their support and careful consideration of the 2019 budget, which provides the fifth consecutive tax levy decrease, lowers the tax rate for a fourth year and expands services for our seniors and veterans, combats opioid addiction, and improves programming for youth all while making targeted investments to ensure our economy continues to grow and enhancing quality of life for all residents.”
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver said, “As costs continue to rise and the number of unfunded mandates increases, the budget process becomes progressively more difficult. The 2019 budget controls spending, offers another year of tax relief for residents, and continues support of the services and initiatives necessary for a thriving community. I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro and his administration, as well as county department heads and my fellow legislators – in particular, the members of the Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee – for their diligence during the budget process. Collaboratively, we have delivered a budget that ensures fiscal responsibility and the continued success of Dutchess County and its citizens.”
Legislative Amendments to the 2019 County Budget include:
The amendments were funded by additional appropriation from fund balance with some state and federal reimbursement.
Among the proposed amendments that did not receive the necessary support was an amendment for $820,000 to add ten full-time, temporary correction officers at the Dutchess County Jail. The amendment was defeated after legislators heard input from Dutchess County Jail Administrator Michael Walters about how with the challenges of recruitment, officers out on leave, and complexity of the full-time hiring process (screening, background checks, etc.) – hiring additional full-time officers would not provide relief to the current officers. The adopted budget does include funding and strategy to use part-time officers (often individuals with prior law enforcement experience or background) to address over-time and provide relief for full-time officers. The County is aggressively working with a consultant and the DCSEA union to reach an updated contract that will provide viable, long-term solutions for correction officers and the County.
Dutchess County Legislator John Metzger, Chairman of the Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee, said, “I thank my legislative colleagues for their thoughtful deliberation and due diligence during this budget process. County Executive Molinaro’s proposed budget continued a successful pattern of conservative, fiscal prudence, while at the same time maintaining the essential services and programs on which our residents rely. I appreciate my fellow legislators’ input and feedback on that proposal, as well as their own modifications, which resulted in a budget that benefits all Dutchess County residents. I also thank County Executive Molinaro and his administration for their unwavering adherence to the fiscal principles that have brought financial security back to Dutchess County.”
Dutchess County Legislator Barbara Jeter-Jackson said, “This budget ensures continued stability and meets critical community needs, including youth services, mental health and addiction recovery. I am very pleased for the support of amendments to expand funding for the Agency Partnership Grant program including a new Capital Projects component to help our non-profit partners address critical capital needs and enable them to continue providing valuable services to our community.”
County Executive Molinaro said, “We need to work together to keep Dutchess County moving forward, especially in the face of ongoing challenges such as addiction recovery, mandates from Albany, and rising construction costs, among others. This 2019 budget provides for our citizens and their needs and I am proud the County Legislature and I share the same vision of making Dutchess County a stronger community.”
The adoption of the 2019 Dutchess County Budget followed several public forums, including a countywide telephone town hall, where residents had the opportunity to speak with County Executive Molinaro to learn about the details of the budget, ask questions and share their feedback.
The budget with the amendments will now be forwarded to County Executive Molinaro for review and signature. The final step in the 2019 Dutchess County Budget process – override consideration of any amendment vetoes by the County Executive and the adoption of the tax levy – will be on Monday, December 17th at the Dutchess County Legislature’s Board meeting.
2019 Adopted Budget Key Facts: