2015 Tentative Budget

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.

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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 – 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 SPENDS MORE & BORROWS MORE

Budget 6

The Proposed 2015 County Capital Plan fails to budget any funds for three major projects (says “To Be Determined” or “TBD”), which are incurring expenses in 2015:

1) the New Jail;

2) the 22 Market Street Parking Lot; and

3) the Department of Mental Hygiene Building Renovations.

These serious expense omissions from the 2015 capital plan do not constitute ‘truthful budgeting’ and flies in the face of transparent government.  Once these expenditures are fully realized, their costs will further add to the growing county debt and debt service, and lead to higher property taxes.

See 2015 Capital Improvement Program. 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 – Record High Debt Service

Budget 4The County Budget borrows more and increases our debt service to record high levels and puts in motion significant future tax increases to hit taxpayers in 2016.

County Budget has 20 year record high debt service of $19,195,587.87 for its current outstanding debt of $107,168,842.  In other words, our service debt is 18% or our tax levy.  Be aware that the county has additional authorized unissued debt of $33,358,433 that will further increase the county’s debt service (and raise taxes) beyond 2015. See 2015 Capital Improvement Program. http://www.dutchessny.gov/