Skip to main content

Year-End Surplus and Healthy Fund Balance Keep Dutchess County on Successful Path

Published: 5/1/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, 845-486-2000

POUGHKEEPSIE — Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced the County’s 2018 year-end financial report, which demonstrates the continued success of Dutchess County’s conservative fiscal management, has been completed and submitted, as required, to the New York State Office of the Comptroller.   Dutchess County Government’s general fund ended 2018 with a surplus, as income exceeded expenses, and maintained a healthy fund balance which is crucial to securing the County’s AA+ bond rating and weathering any unexpected fiscal changes. Dutchess County’s growing economy, with 18 consecutive months of job growth, helped bolster sales tax revenue, which increased by more than $15 million in 2018.   

“With a year-end surplus and a growing economy, we remain committed to our conservative fiscal approach enabling us to improve our shared quality of life, invest in infrastructure and enhance services our residents count on,” said County Executive Molinaro. “Another year-end surplus, stable fund balance and controlled spending matched with a growing economy, 18-months of job growth, increases in home incomes and five years of property tax cuts—Dutchess County is as fiscally strong as we have ever been. We are delivering real results for Dutchess residents.”

Highlights of the 2018 year-end financial report include:

  • 2018 revenues totaled $450.6 million, creating a slight surplus as expenses totaled $450.4 million.  
  • Revenue increases included:
    • Sales tax receipts increased by $15.4 million, an increase of 8.4% compared to 2017;
    • $1.1 million casino revenue from the Montreign Resort Casino;
    • Interest income increased by almost $1 million; and
    • Increased State and Federal public safety grant revenue of approximately $700,000.
  • Expenditure increases included:
    • $3 million increase in sales tax growth revenue sharing payments to local municipalities;
    • $1 million increase in funding support for Dutchess Community College;  
    • $2 million cost increase for state-mandated pre-school special education programming, and
    • $1 million in additional resources for behavioral health and/or substance use issues including recovery coach support.
  • The 2018 fiscal year ended with $52.2 million in general fund unassigned fund balance, at the mid-point of the County’s desired range of 1-2 months of operating expenses (a range of $37.5 million to $75 million.)

Dutchess County’s solid fund balance is critical to maintaining the County’s high AA+ bond rating, the highest Standard & Poor’s rating for any county in New York State, and ensuring the County can absorb sudden financial changes, such as a sales tax downturn or changes in state or federal funding streams. The County’s AA+ bond rating enables the County to borrow at lower interest rates, providing significant savings for taxpayers. This was most recently evidenced by the County’s bond refinancing, which netted more than $730,000 in savings for taxpayers, almost $300,000 more than anticipated, thanks to the strong market interest in Dutchess County bonds.

The Molinaro administration’s focus on strengthening the local economy is also paying dividends as Dutchess County led the state in March for job growth and is experiencing 18 consecutive months of growth. Dutchess County unemployment rate is 3.7%, the lowest rate in 17 years and there is $4.3 billion of projects under construction or in development. The growing economy is driving down average monthly caseload numbers at the Department of Community and Family Services and boosting sales tax receipts significantly.   

Dutchess County has remained under the property tax cap every year under County Executive Molinaro’s administration, with the property tax levy cut five years in row (2015-2019) and four consecutive property tax rate reductions (2016-2019).

Read the full 2018 Unaudited Financial Report and Finance Commissioner Heidi Seelbach’s and Budget Director Jessica White’s overview to the Dutchess County Legislature.