Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today hosted his latest in a series of virtual Town Hall Forums to inform residents about the latest updates regarding the County and answer their questions. Today’s forum included discussion of his 2021 Executive Budget proposal as well as the latest updates relating to COVID-19.
County Executive Molinaro shared a preview of what can be expected in his 2021 Executive Budget proposal when it is presented later this month on October 28th:
- Reduced county spending
- Smaller county workforce with no layoffs
- No property tax increases for residents.
Molinaro noted the County’s 2019 Year End Audited Financials were completed and released today and the County’s audited general fund balance was $56.9 million, reflecting the County’s conservative fiscal approach. The County’s fund balance reserves are crucial to the County being able to weather the rising pandemic and emergency response costs as well as dramatic revenue losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The County Executive noted, “We worked diligently over the past nine years to rebuild a solid fund balance reserve to be able to withstand emergencies and changing economic circumstances. The County could not have gone into this prolonged economic crisis, this pandemic public emergency, any stronger than we did. Our fund balance reserves, coupled with spending cuts, tough decisions and shared sacrifice will enable us to withstand this emergency and the uncertain economic situation.”
Among the other highlights of today’s virtual town hall conversation:
- County Executive Molinaro updated residents on the most current data posted on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard:
- 169,950 Tests completed
- 5,130 Confirmed cases
- 145 Active cases
- 6 Hospitalizations
- 156 Deaths 4,829 Recovered
- 2% Positivity rate
- The Hudson Valley region has experienced an overall increase in the regional infection rate in the last week. The New York State Department of Health and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have reported COVID-19 clusters related to religious communities in Rockland and Orange counties driving corresponding spikes in those counties’ positivity rate. However, Dutchess County’s infection rate, reported today at 0.8 percent, is the lowest of the six counties in the region. Additionally, Dutchess is the only county in the region to realize a decline in new COVID-19 cases over the past week.
- The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health continues to work with the NYS Department of Health to address the cluster of positive COVID-19 cases related to Hedgewood Home for Adults in Beacon. There has been a total of 71 cases related to the Hedgewood facility this month. Of the 145 active cases currently listed on Dutchess County’s COVID-19 data dashboard, 40 are current, active cases related to Hedgewood. As it has since these cases were first reported, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) continues to monitor the cluster at Hedgewood and remains in constant communication with the facility’s leadership.
- In October, the Dutchess County Office for the Aging (OFA) will host three free drive-in Bingo games for seniors – Oct. 14th at Bowdoin Park in Poughkeepsie, Oct. 20th at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck and Oct. 22nd at Boyce Park in Wingdale. These physically distant events will continue to provide seniors with socialization and engagement in a safe way. For 2021, OFA will continue to reimagine events and activities for seniors to ensure opportunities for socialization and engagement that is critical to mental well-being. As older adults are increasingly using technology to connect to news and information, health and wellness resources and social supports, OFA provides information regarding programs and services remotely through technology and will use Stimulus dollars to purchase tablets, laptops and other technology to interact with seniors remotely, as well as provide technology resources to those seniors who lack these resources.
- County Executive Molinaro reminded residents about the importance of vaccinating themselves against the flu, particularly in light of the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Residents can receive their flu vaccinations at their doctor’s office, pharmacy, retailers such as Target or Walmart and on Mondays, by appointment, at the DBCH Adult Clinics. More information is available on the County’s flu webpage.
- The County Executive also included his weekly reminder for residents to complete the Census survey if they have not already. Dutchess County has surpassed the 2010 self-response rate of 65.7 percent, with a current census completion rate of 66.5 percent, but the County Executive implored all residents to fill out their census survey at www.2020census.gov now.
County Executive Molinaro’s next virtual discussion will take place on Friday, October 9th at 2pm and will be broadcast live on the County’s Facebook page. As with the County Executive’s previous 30+ virtual forums, American Sign Language interpreters will translate the conversation on Facebook.
An archive of Today’s forum and previous events is available on the Dutchess County Government YouTube page.