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2013 Dutchess County Budget Approved by County Legislature

Published: 12/7/2012

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro expressed his appreciation to the Dutchess County Legislature for their support throughout the budget process following the Legislature’s vote  voted to approve the 2013 County Budget at its Board Meeting.   The 2013 Dutchess County budget reduces spending by nearly $7 million dollars and holds the property tax levy under the property tax cap.  

“I am grateful to the members of the Dutchess County Legislature who have worked together with us to craft a budget that begins a multi-year transformation of county government.   We have engaged in a historic budget process, marked by an open dialogue, transparency and consensus and the result is a plan designed to effectuate smaller, smarter and better government,” said County Executive Molinaro.

The budget increases the property tax levy by 2% (under the Property Tax Cap calculated at 2.3% for Dutchess County). The impact for a typical homeowner with the median assessed value of $252,300 would be an increase of just under $11 per year.

The 2013 budget process began early in 2012 and included numerous challenges such as initial projected $40 million budget gap and limited fund balance. The final 2013 budget includes multiple components that enabled the County to close the initial gap:

  • Consolidations and reorganizations across county government;
  • Major initiatives related to the Dutchess County Jail, Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency and Mental Health services;
  • Sales Tax Distribution Cap & Municipal Collaboration;
  • Community Investment Programs including the Agency Partner Grant Program;
  • Fund Balance; Workforce Reductions; and
  • Property, Sales, Hotel & Mortgage Recording Tax

County Executive Molinaro sought and achieved an inclusive process throughout the development of the 2013 County Budget. Town hall style forums, meetings with constituency groups, informational presentations, even an online budget survey were all used to engage stakeholders in the decision making process.

The Legislature held two public hearings on the 2013 budget, and unlike public hearings held in recent years, there were very little objections made to the budget plan.   Dutchess County Legislature Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee Chair James Miccio said, “County Executive Molinaro, through countless meetings and tremendous outreach, made every effort to present a budget that contained no surprises.   Legislators were well informed about the various elements of the budget and the result was a smooth and organized final review process.” As a result, the two public hearings on the 2013 budget contained remarkably few objections.

Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Robert Rolison said, “This budget delivers the important county services that residents need, while protecting taxpayers by remaining under the property tax cap. It was a difficult balance to achieve, but through a collaborative and open process we were able to achieve that balance with County Executive Molinaro and set Dutchess County Government on a course for stronger fiscal stability.”

Dutchess County Legislature Minority Leader Barbara Jeter- Jackson said, “There were many difficult choices to be made in this budget. County Executive Molinaro has been very upfront and honest in his approach, asking every stakeholder to shoulder some of the burden so that together we can move forward to a more secure fiscal position for all.   I believe it is a fair approach and I appreciate the open dialogue and communication that has been the hallmark of this process.”

Dutchess County Legislature Majority Leader Dale Borchert said, “This budget addresses many issues that are long overdue and responds to the public’s call for consolidation and efficiency.  The long term strategic focus of these plans enables the County to begin the process of successfully tackling these important issues.”

County Executive Molinaro said, “Thank you to Chairman Rolison, Majority Leader Borchert, Minority Leader Jeter-Jackson and Budget Chairman Miccio for their leadership and stewardship throughout the budget process.   Our residents are well served by the civil dialogue that took place and the budget product that has been approved.”

The 2013 County Budget will now be returned to County Executive Molinaro for signature.