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Southwest Dutchess Daily Voice serves Beacon, East Fishkill, Fishkill, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie, Wappinger & Wappingers Falls

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Molinaro Unveils New County Budget Proposal

Marc Molinaro
Marc Molinaro Photo Credit: Contributed

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y.  -- Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro offered good news for residents during the presentation of his 2018 budget Tuesday by announcing the plan reduces the property tax levy for the fourth year and cuts the property tax rate for the third year.

The budget maintains all existing services and programs, with some key services expanded including addiction and mental health services, ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiatives, youth services, community partnerships and shared services to name a few.

“This 2018 Executive Budget continues our commitment to provide tax relief, improves our shared quality of life while expanding support to the most vulnerable in our community," Molinaro said.

The proposed 2018 property tax levy is $106,378,663, down more than $92,000 from 2017, representing the fourth consecutive property tax levy decrease. If the budget proposal is approved by the County Legislature, property taxpayers will see a decrease in the tax rate on their property tax bill from $3.58 to $3.54 per $1,000.

Other highlights of the budget include:

  • Total 2018 appropriations of $480,139,857.
  • No reduction in programs or services.
  • No increase to parks fees, including park facility rentals and kids summer programming.
  • $2.3 million investment in economic development, tourism, arts and agriculture to continue to strengthen the local economy.
  • $26 million infrastructure investment in the operating budget and the capital plan for road and bridge repairs and improvements
  • The launch of “Breaking Through” initiative to combat opiate abuse including expansion of 24/7 intervention resources and focused effort to break through stigma attached with mental and addiction issues.
  • $1 million for Municipal Innovative Grant, encouraging further shared service efforts.
  • $1 million for Agency Partner Grant program, an increase of $100,000 over 2017.
  • Expansion of ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiatives for new educational, transportation and employment opportunities.

The budget also focused on the opioid crisis and outlined a new initiative to address the issue that included a special public outreach effort with Spark Media Project. In 2018, Dutchess County will be adding to its 24/7 intervention resources, as well as enhancing other mental health and addiction support.

Other initiatives and continuing services included in the budget plan include:

  • 2018 as the Year of the Veteran with funding for a World War I commemorative event as well as a special recognition event for Gold Star families.
  • Enhancements to the County Parks System, with no additional fees.
  • Full year, five-day-a-week home-delivered meal service for more than 500 homebound seniors, which had been expanded from four-day-a-week service in 2017, as well as training, counseling, support, and respite for more than 750 caregivers in 2018.
  • $45,000 in additional funding for Human Rights programs.

The budget documents are available online at . Residents are encouraged to review the budget documents, particularly the Budget in Brief, and participate in a special live countywide tele-town hall forum on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The tele-town hall call-in number is (877) 228-2184 , then enter event ID 113489# at the prompt.

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