Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today hosted the latest of his more than three dozen virtual Town Hall Forums since mid-March, providing County residents the latest updates on his 2021 Executive Budget proposal, the COVID-19 pandemic and other topics. As he has in each of his previous 38 online forums, the County Executive also answered residents’ questions on a variety of topics.
In anticipation of the October 28th presentation of his 2021 Executive Budget — which will feature no property tax increases, cuts in spending and a smaller County workforce with no layoffs — County Executive Molinaro discussed with residents the impact of decreased sales tax revenue on the proposed County budget.
Dutchess County received its most recent sales tax payment from the New York Department of Taxation and Finance earlier this week, a payment of $21.9 million, which is 18.5 percent more than the payment the County received ($18.5 million) for the same period in 2019. Still, the 2020 cumulative payments received ($131 million) remain 6.4 percent less than the County received at this time last year ($140 million), leaving an estimated $15 million loss in sales tax revenue, compared to 2019.
Among the other highlights of today’s conversation:
- County Executive Molinaro updated residents on the most current data posted on the Dutchess County COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard:
- 184,545 tests completed
- 5,222 confirmed cases
- 127 active cases
- 10 hospitalizations
- 161 deaths
- 4,934 recoveries
- 2% regional positivity rate
- Dutchess County’s positivity rate was 0.3% on Friday, Oct. 9th
- The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) 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 74 cases related to the Hedgewood facility since the cluster began last month and a total of 7 deaths. Of the 127 active cases currently listed on Dutchess County’s COVID-19 data dashboard, 9 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 the Health Commissioner’s Order for the facility quarantine remains in effective.
- DBCH is also working with Marist College to perform contact tracing following the confirmation of 12 positive cases of COVID-19 following an off-campus gathering last weekend. The school notified students, faculty and staff Thursday evening following the confirmation of the positive cases. DBCH is working in conjunction with Marist to identify and test individuals who could have been exposed to COVID-19 at the gathering. In response, the school has moved to all remote learning today and tomorrow; suspending all on- and off-campus activities; prohibiting all on- and off-campus gatherings, including parties; cancelling all athletic team training sessions; closing its James J. McCann Recreation Center; closing campus to all visitors; and prohibiting students from visiting non-assigned residence halls.
- Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, County Executive Molinaro encouraged residents, particularly those over the age of 60, to obtain an influenza vaccination as soon as possible, as inoculation to the flu is more important than ever. The Centers for Disease Control estimated the flu accounted for more than 16.5 million medical visits and more than 490,000 hospitalizations nationwide during the 2018-19 flu season; such hospitalizations could overwhelm a healthcare system already stressed by the pandemic. Flu vaccinations are available at local doctor’s offices and pharmacies, major retailers such as Target and Walmart, and Mondays by appointment (845-486-3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org) at the DBCH clinic.
- Reapportionment, the process of allocating seats in the County Legislature based on population and redistricting, will commence in January 2021, and County residents are sought to serve on the Dutchess County Independent Reapportionment Commission. In 2019, the Dutchess County Legislature adopted a local law that determined the redrawing of legislative districts would be done by an Independent Reapportionment Commission, detached from Legislative authority or influence to ensure equal and fair representation to the people of Dutchess County. This law will become effective after being approved by Dutchess County voters on Election Day, Nov. 3rd; voters should look for the Proposition #1 on the back of their ballot when they vote. Interested residents can apply to serve on the independent reapportionment committee at DutchessNY.gov/DrawTheLines or by mailing a written letter of application expressing interest, including address, and affirming eligibility to serve, to:
Dutchess County Executive’s Office
22 Market Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
- County Executive Molinaro congratulated James Fedorchak, who has led Dutchess County’s Law Department for the past decade and will retire at the end of October. The County Executive will appoint Caroline Blackburn as Dutchess County’s next County Attorney. Ms. Blackburn currently serves as Chief Assistant County Attorney and will be the first woman to serve as County Attorney. The County Attorney serves as the sole legal advisor for the County; preparing all necessary legal papers and instruments pertaining to County Government; prepares memoranda and opinions in regard to local laws, resolutions and legalizing acts; and prosecutes and defend civil matters or proceedings involving the County and its units, including its officers.
- County Executive Molinaro reiterated the importance of resident completing the 2020 national census, as an accurate count assures Dutchess County and local communities will receive their proper share of federal and state funding for vital services, including schools, Medicaid, student loans, infrastructure and more. As such, the County Executive again implored residents to complete their census form online as soon as possible, as the federally imposed deadline for completion is Oct. 31st.
- Ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, early voting for the general election begins throughout New York State in two weeks, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 24th and concluding on Sunday, Nov. 1st. Residents looking to cast the ballots during early voting can do so, regardless of where they live, at the following locations:
- Rhinebeck Town Hall – 80 East Market Street, Rhinebeck
- Millbrook Fire House – 20 Front Street, Millbrook
- Dutchess County Board of Elections – 47 Cannon Street, Poughkeepsie
- Boardman Road Library – 141 Boardman Road, Poughkeepsie
- Fishkill Town Hall – 807 Route 52, Fishkill
- Tuesday, Oct. 27th is the final day for residents to apply for an absentee ballot, and Monday, Nov. 2nd, is the last day to apply in person at the Dutchess County Board of Elections (BOE) for an absentee ballot. Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, is the final day residents can mail in ballot or hand it in in person at the BOE.
- Additional information about early voting, including poll hours for each specific day, is available on the Dutchess County Board of Elections website.
County Executive Molinaro will host his next online Town Hall Forum on Wednesday, October 14th at 3 p.m.; the event will be broadcast live on the Dutchess County Government Facebook page. As with his previous virtual forums, County Executive Molinaro will joined by American Sign Language interpreters who will translate the conversation.
An archive of Today’s forum and previous events is available on the Dutchess County Government YouTube page.