2015 Capital Improvement Program

Legislative Report for Dec. 11, 2014

Legislative Report for August 14, 2014

Activities:  Attended the county legislative meeting, the airport advisory committee meeting and the meeting of the permanent citizens advisory committee to the MTA.  Also attended a justice rally in Beacon at the request of Councilman Ali Muhammad.  Worked on public relations content regarding the county budget. Fielded calls and emails regarding various national, state, county, and school issues.  Also managed website and social media content.

Bills: Voted no on the 2015 Capital Improvements Program since it is incomplete and missing data. The spending plan also borrows more and increases our debt service to record high levels and puts in motion significant future tax increases to hit taxpayers in 2016 and beyond.  Voted no on the 2015 County Budget because budget plan spends more in expenditures than it collects in revenue creating a recurring structural deficit.  The deficit will be offset by appropriating $4.9 million out of the already fragile general fund balance and any shortfalls in the County collection of sales tax projections will have an impact on the deficit.  The $150K in additional funding for additional alternatives to incarceration programs is minimal and having to continue to house out inmates when the pods were supposed to resolve our “inmate housing out” problem are of concern as well.

Legislative Report for Nov. 26, 2014

Legislative Report for August 14, 2014

Activities:  Attended the Democratic Caucus meeting as well as the Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee meeting. Conducted an extensive review of the 2015 Tentative County Budget and Capital Improvements Program as well as the County’s 2013 Year Ended Independent Auditors’ Report.  Worked on a press release regarding the same. Fielded calls and emails regarding various county, town and school issues, including but not limited to the DC Airport and the 2015 Budget and Capital Improvements Program. Also managed website and social media content.

Events:  Continued coordination of an upcoming blood drive that I am sponsoring.  The blood drive is Saturday, November 29, 2014 at the United Methodist Church from 10am-3pm.

2015 TENTATIVE BUDGET – The Dutchess County Jail

 

Jail

The Capital Improvement Plan (“CIP”) is incomplete because it identifies the jail in the document but not the estimated cost.  The cost is stated “To Be Determined” or “TBD.”  Some of us know that a five year capital plan will not necessarily have the details and specifications to allow for an accurate estimate.  However, it is the responsibility of the County Executive to provide a best faith estimate.  It is also the responsibility of the County Legislature to make this an issue and ask for a full and open assessment of the potential cost of the jail, and an exact detailed summary of the serial bonds committed on behalf of the Jail.

For those who don’t know, a Capital Improvement Plan (Program) or CIP, is a short-range plan, usually four to ten years, which identifies capital projects, equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and identifies options for financing the plan.

2015 Tentative Budget – Decreased Spending

Budget 2

A reduction of mental hygiene and other health and wellness programs by $6,822,973 is nothing to brag about.  Government workforce consolidation and departmental reorganization in the name of efficiency is troubling.  While the savings are immediate, there is a limit to the number of cuts governments can sustain before the costs—to the work lives of its employees and to services it provides—begin to outstrip the savings benefits.

The County needs a comprehensive assessment of the full costs and benefits—both monetary and non-monetary—of “rightsizing” our government to determine whether the 2015 Tentative Budget is a budget that ALL Dutchess County residents deserve.

2015 TENTATIVE BUDGET – Property Tax Cut – Increase in Tax Rate

 

Budget 6

The property tax relief is so negligible that some residents may actually see their taxes rise. Despite the shaving of the tax levy, County tax rates are going up for taxpayers. If your assessment on your home was not reduced in 2014, then you are potentially facing an increase in your individual tax bill because the rate is going from $3.65/$1000 to $3.68/$1000.

The County’s tax base continues to decline by $400M, a total decline of $9.28 billion over 7 years.

Look at the Budget in Brief. http://www.dutchessny.gov/

2015 TENTATIVE BUDGET – CAPITAL PLAN SPENDING PROPOSAL

Budget 7

The 2015 County Capital Plan proposes to spend an additional $21,796,800 of taxpayers’ dollars on top of the county’s $441,748,000 operating budget.  County spending of taxpayers’ money could be at an historic high of $463,544,800 in 2015.

County Budget has 20 year record high debt service of $19,195,587.87 for its current outstanding debt of $107,168,842.  The county has an additional authorized unissued debt of $33,358,433 that will further increase the county’s debt service (and raise taxes) beyond 2015.

Budget does not make up for the loss of revenue from the Energy Tax nor the one time revenue shot from the state aid that is balancing the 2014 budget.  ($5.25 million)

See 2015 Capital Improvement Program. http://www.dutchessny.gov/

2015 Dutchess County Tentative Budget – Labor Contracts

Budget 5

2015 Budget does not plan any funds for the settlement of any of the three collective bargaining agreements. If so, it is not clearly identified.  Should a settlement occur in 2015, more funds may be needed from the fund balance to cover this expense.

The structural deficit of $4.875 million significantly drains fund balance (nearly 20%) to a dangerously low level of 5% of the budget minimum threshold.  Any further unexpected expenses or revenue shortfalls will further strain a very weak fund balance, and put the county’s good bond rating at risk.

2015 TENTATIVE BUDGET – The County Jail

 

Jail

The Capital Improvement Plan (“CIP”) is incomplete because it identifies the jail in the document but not the estimated cost.  The cost is stated “To Be Determined” or “TBD.”  Some of us know that a five year capital plan will not necessarily have the details and specifications to allow for an accurate estimate.  However, it is the responsibility of the County Executive to provide a best faith estimate.  It is also the responsibility of the County Legislature to make this an issue and ask for a full and open assessment of the potential cost of the jail, and an exact detailed summary of the serial bonds committed on behalf of the Jail.

For those who don’t know, a Capital Improvement Plan (Program) or CIP, is a short-range plan, usually four to ten years, which identifies capital projects, equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and identifies options for financing the plan.

2015 Tentative Budget – Decreased Spending

Budget 2

A reduction of mental hygiene and other health and wellness programs by $6,822,973 is nothing to brag about.  Government workforce consolidation and departmental reorganization in the name of efficiency is troubling.  While the savings are immediate, there is a limit to the number of cuts governments can sustain before the costs—to the work lives of its employees and to services it provides—begin to outstrip the savings benefits.

The County needs a comprehensive assessment of the full costs and benefits—both monetary and non-monetary—of “rightsizing” our government to determine whether the 2015 Tentative Budget is a budget that ALL Dutchess County residents deserve.

2015 TENTATIVE BUDGET – Property Tax Cut – Increase in Tax Rate

 

Budget 6

The property tax relief is so negligible that some residents may actually see their taxes rise. Despite the shaving of the tax levy, County tax rates are going up for taxpayers. If your assessment on your home was not reduced in 2014, then you are potentially facing an increase in your individual tax bill because the rate is going from $3.65/$1000 to $3.68/$1000.

The County’s tax base continues to decline by $400M, a total decline of $9.28 billion over 7 years.

Look at the Budget in Brief. http://www.dutchessny.gov/