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Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced his 2017 Executive Budget, to be released on October 27th, will once again cut the amount collected in the property tax levy as well as reduce the property tax rate paid by taxpayers. This will be the third consecutive year of reduction in the County’s property tax levy, ensuring Dutchess County remains under the New York State (NYS) property tax cap as it has for the past four years. When the County Executive submits the 2017 budget proposal to the Dutchess County Legislature, he will also include resolutions calling for key mandate relief from New York State.
County Executive Molinaro said, “We remain focused on minimizing the tax burden, ensuring fiscal stability and growing our economy. The 2017 Executive Budget continues our efforts to make local government smaller, smarter and more effective. Not only are we experiencing the second year of assessed valuation growth, but I will propose the third consecutive tax levy cut with flat spending resulting in the second tax rate reduction for our residents."
Actual impact of the property tax levy and tax rate decrease on an individual tax bill can vary from town to town based on local assessments and state equalization rates, both factors beyond the county’s control. Dutchess County Government’s property tax levy represents only 12% of the property taxes collected countywide, the remainder of which is comprised of school taxes, municipal (city, town or village) property taxes and special district taxes (i.e. fire).
County Executive Molinaro’s committed focus on shared services and consolidation, efficiency measures and aggressive efforts to control spending and capitalize on grants and other funding resources have resulted in reduced property taxes in the 2017 Executive Budget. Additionally, the Administration’s focus on strengthening the local economy is beginning to pay early dividends with an increase in true value property assessments and improved sales tax and hotel tax receipts.
However, Dutchess County Government’s budget remains dominated by state and federally mandated expenses that consume 70% of county costs. The ability to make spending adjustments is generally limited to the “optional” expense areas of the budget; areas such as parks and recreation, senior programs, law enforcement, snow plowing, road maintenance, and 911 dispatch.
County Executive Molinaro continues to be a strong, vocal advocate for mandate relief from New York State, whether it is removing the mandate cost or providing the funding required to deliver the program or service. Earlier this year, the County passed a resolution calling for the Governor to sign the “Public Defense Mandate Relief Act” passed by both the NYS Senate and Assembly requiring the State to reimburse counties, beginning in 2017 and incrementally reaching 100% in 2023, for the expenditures associated with the State’s obligation to provide representation for those who cannot afford counsel. This mandate relief would result in $4 million in additional revenue annually for Dutchess County. When the County Executive submits his 2017 Executive Budget to the Dutchess County Legislature, he will also include the following mandate relief resolutions:
Repeal of the MTA Payroll Tax
Dutchess County Government, like all corporations, private and independently owned companies, not-for-profit agencies, hospitals, school districts and others, must pay 34 cents on every $100 of payroll. The MTA payroll tax has cost Dutchess County Government more than $2.2 million since its inception in 2009 and will be an additional cost of $400,000 for residents in 2017. The resolution calls for the immediate repeal of the payroll tax.
Increase in Revenue Share for State DMV Services Provided by Dutchess County
The Dutchess County Clerk’s Office is mandated by New York State (NYS) to operate a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Office, a prime example of the shared services provided by counties for NYS. Under current law, NYS takes 87.3% of all fees collected and the remaining 12.7% is the local share, which has not increased since 1999, despite the increasing cost and workload for local DMV offices. The resolution calls for an increase of the local/county share DMV revenue, and points to Senator Patty Richie’s bill, which would raise the 12.7% local share to a 25% share, keeping almost $2 million of local DMV revenue in Dutchess. The bill S4964B, co-sponsored by Senator Sue Serino, passed the Senate in June 2016, but still requires passage in the NYS Assembly and approval from the Governor.
County Executive Molinaro will present his 2017 Executive Budget on Thursday, October 27th at 4:30pm in the Legislature Chambers, ahead of the required November 1st deadline established by the Dutchess County Administrative Code. The County Executive’s Budget Address can be viewed live on the County’s website, dutchessny.gov, where all budget documents will also be available for review. On November 1st at 6:30pm, County Executive Molinaro will host a countywide tele-town hall forum when residents will have the opportunity to participate in a live conversation about the 2017 county budget, learn key details, ask questions and share feedback.