After a decade of relying on sales tax growth and Federal and State bailouts, and multiple years of “biggest ever” property tax cuts whenever Molinaro was up for election for governor, congress or re-election as county executive, the cupboard is now bare.
Even after taking $16M from the rainy-day fund this year (after pulling $60M+ the last two years), the county finds itself millions short on the revenue side. And so the Republicans have proposed filling that gap with a sales tax hike that would have us pay 0.25% more, putting at us 8.375% – higher than Ulster (8%) and Columbia (8%).
Last year, $25M was spent on Dutchess Stadium upgrades for the New York Yankees with no plan to recoup the money (I voted NO). The comptroller’s latest report says we’ll lose another $400,000 next year on operations rather than the “break-even” we were promised.
We spent millions more to outbid the city school district to acquire a building in the City of Poughkeepsie to use as a homeless shelter that was completely unsuitable (I warned them, voted against it and they bought it anyway). The county is now desperately seeking grants to hopefully renovate it and use it for other purposes.
We bought Camp Nooteeming to make it a “county park” except, like the stadium, public access is extremely limited.
The list goes on.
In the end, we have important services to deliver to all our residents and the administration has dug the county a hole so deep that they may have no option but to raise taxes.
Budget meetings will run from late October into December. If you have any questions about the budget, please don’t hesitate to send them my way during this important time.