POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro released his 2023 Executive Budget, with continued focus on tax relief for residents and businesses while improving the services on which county residents depend. The 2023 budget proposal features a 12% property tax rate decrease for 2023 and the lowest property tax levy in 14 years. As proposed, since 2015, the County property tax rate has been cut 32% and the property tax levy reduced by more than $8.1 million with the Molinaro administration’s unwavering commitment to conservative fiscal management.
At a time when costs are going up all around us, Dutchess County Government remains committed to cutting costs for county residents and businesses, with our eighth consecutive property tax rate decrease and our ninth straight county levy decrease,” said County Executive Molinaro. “I have always been committed to returning tax dollars to taxpayers whenever possible and we do this once again with this 2023 budget proposal while expanding our commitment to provide compassionate care for our most vulnerable residents – our older adults, veterans, those of all abilities and those living with mental health and substance use issues – and continue to plan a brighter future for our young people.”
The 2023 property tax levy, the amount the County collects in property taxes, proposed in the Executive Budget is $99.45 million, a reduction of nearly $369,000 from the 2022 levy and is the ninth straight county levy decrease. The tax rate, which is calculated by dividing the property tax levy by full value assessments, will decrease from $2.85 to $2.50 per $1,000 of true value assessments as a result the tax levy reduction, as well as the continued growth in true value assessments (tax base). The County’s tax base has grown to nearly $40 billion thanks to continued focus on economic development and job growth, evidenced by the County’s commercial vacancy rate in Dutchess County remaining the lowest in the region as Dutchess attracts new investment from companies from Amazon and Pepsi Frito Lay among others.
Clothing and footwear items less than $110 per item will continue to be sales tax free in the 2023 budget, providing savings for families. Sales tax revenue, which represents 45% of total County revenue, is forecasted at $250.5 million for 2023, a 1% increase over 2022 projected sales tax receipts. The conservative sales tax growth projections are based on inflation rates forecasted between 1.6% and 3.5% in 2023 and minimum consumer spending growth. $43 million in sales revenue is budgeted for distribution to local municipalities based on the sales tax agreement announced earlier this year.
Total 2023 appropriations equal $560,369,932 compared to 2022 modified budget (actual spending) of $601 million. In 2022, county spending was notably higher as the County seized the opportunity to pay down debt and avoid future indebtedness by utilizing fund balance. Paying off debt created $1.6 million in interest savings and by paying for several capital projects up front instead of bonding for them, the County avoided approximately $10 million in future interest payments based on expected rates.
Building and maintaining a healthy fund balance has been an ongoing priority for the Molinaro administration. The 2023 budget plan allocates $3.5 million of unassigned general fund balance, $1.5 million is allocated from the D & E fund and $2 million allocated from the ET Public Transit fund. $3 million is allocated from a restricted reserve fund for debt repayment, which will offset debt service. The fund balance appropriation in 2022 as well as the amount appropriated in the 2023 budget keeps the total projected available general fund balance in line with the County’s fund balance goal of maintaining one to two months of general fund operating expenditures in unrestricted general fund balance to ensure continued financial stability. Maintaining a strong fund balance is critical for being able to address economic downturns or unexpected events.