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Dutchess County 2016 Budget Adopted with Bipartisan Support

Published: 12/4/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie, NY… The Dutchess County Legislature last night adopted the 2016 Dutchess County Budget by a 19-4 bipartisan vote. The adopted budget, with few amendments to Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro’s Tentative County Budget, cuts the property tax levy for the second consecutive year with no reduction to services or programs.     The budget reduces the county property tax levy by more than $1 million and lowers the property tax rate for the first time in eight years.    Reduced spending and continued commitment to shared services and consolidation ensure eligible homeowners will receive a second property tax rebate check from New York State in 2016.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Over the past four years, we’ve worked together to move Dutchess County forward, overcoming serious fiscal hurdles to cement our financial standing, which has resulted in the second-highest bond rating of any county in New York. Of utmost importance, we continue to provide the vital services on which our residents rely while providing them tax relief. This county budget is the result of our continued conservative approach to fiscal management and our determination to maintain the quality of life our residents deserve. I appreciate the support the members of the Dutchess County Legislature have shown, and I eagerly await the opportunity to work with them in the future.”

Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison said, “The bipartisan support for the 2016 County Budget shows residents their legislators work together for their benefit. I applaud County Executive Molinaro and his administration, our county department heads, and my fellow legislators – in particular, the members of the Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee – for their participation throughout the process. We can take pride in a stable, balanced budget that continues the fiscal progress the Legislature and this administration have worked for years to achieve.”

2016 Budget Highlights include:

  • Property Tax Levy Reduction of over $1 million
  • Property Tax Rate Cut
  • Property Tax Freeze Credit rebates ensured through shared service & consolidation while remaining under the tax cap
  • No reduction in programs or services
  • No new taxes
  • Focus on Prevention, Intervention & Diversion
    Merger of Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene into single Department of Behavioral and Community Health, under one commissioner
    Establishment of the Crisis Stabilization Center
    Funding for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention services
    More than $1.5 million increase in family supportive services
  • Expansion of Think Differently initiatives
  • Continues critical investment in economic development with targeted business attraction program, increased tourism promotion and  agricultural support 
  • $10.8 million infrastructure investment

Legislative amendments to the 2016 County Budget include $10,000 for “Farm to Table” initiatives in the  county’s nutrition programs;  $20,000 in additional funding for the Agency Partner Grant program; $100,000 for Active Shooter Training for the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies (partially offset by grant revenue); $37,000 for domestic violence prevention training to Family Services; a new Community Development Coordinator in the Department of Planning & Development to focus on urban development, particularly in the City of Poughkeepsie;  $50,000 to continue the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal events; and bus passes for  Hudson River Housing’s veteran employment programming. The majority of amendments were offset with adjustments to revenues or expenses in other budget lines.    Total impact of all the amendments compared to the original proposed budget was $30,000.

Dutchess County Legislature Majority Leader Angela Flesland said, “The Legislature came together to enhance the very sound budget proposal that County Executive Molinaro originally proposed. We were able to expand our Agency Partner Grant program, assist our veterans in need of transportation, provide opportunity for residents to preserve the environment and ensure our law enforcement personnel get the training they need for critical situations that are too often occurring in our nation.    We were able to accomplish all of this and still cut the property tax levy by more than $1 million, ensuring a property tax rate cut for our residents.   There is much to be proud of in the 2016 budget and I look forward to working with my fellow legislators and County Executive Molinaro’s administration in the implementation of these programs and services next year.”

Dutchess County Legislature Minority Leader Barbara Jeter-Jackson said, “This budget continues Dutchess County’s focus on services for our youth and families – everything from a $1.5 million investment in supportive programming to protect our families and children, to our continued commitment for our countywide Sexual Assault Response Team and domestic violence advocacy.  I am particularly pleased we were able to expand services in the City of Poughkeepsie with a new Community Development Coordinator that will be able to help get needed economic development and community projects moving forward.   I am very pleased that we have worked together to formulate a budget that addresses the needs of all Dutchess County residents, including our most vulnerable.”

Dutchess County Legislature Assistant Majority Leader Donna Bolner said, “With more than 70% of the county budget mandated by the state and federal government, we must continue to be prudent and wise with the remaining 30% of the budget that we have direct influence over.   Our systematic review of the County’s programs and services provides taxpayers the confidence to know that we are investing their dollars in proven outcomes, using a careful stepping stone approach.   As we see the success of each step, we are able to wisely invest in the next step to build strong, proven programming and services that provide quantifiable benefits to our residents.”

County Executive Molinaro added, “Our 2016 County Budget not only continues to provide residents with programs they need without an increased tax burden, but it also sets forth a plan to enhance residents’ lives and attract more opportunities for them. Our ‘Th!nk Dutchess’ campaign, for example, will market Dutchess County to outside businesses, showing them what makes us distinctly Dutchess and an attractive spot to locate their companies. Residents will see the fruits of our $11.5 million investment in infrastructure in improved roads and bridges throughout the county. The $4.8 million we will invest in our Crisis Stabilization Center will divert mentally ill individuals away from jail and help them quickly receive the care they need. These are just some of the additions that will benefit residents as we all work together to keep moving Dutchess forward.”

The adoption of the 2016 Dutchess County Budget followed several public forums, including a countywide tele-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. Town hall forums about the budget will also be held on Wednesday, December 9th at 11 a.m. at American Legion Post #1302 (55 Overlook Road, Poughkeepsie) and Monday, December 14th at 6 p.m. at Clinton Town Hall (1215 Centre Road).

The final vote on the 2016 Dutchess County Budget – the adoption of the tax levy – will be on Tuesday, December 15th at the Dutchess County Legislature’s Board meeting.