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Dutchess County budget passes by 21-3 margin

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Albany/HV: Dutchess County budget passes by 21-3 margin
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The Dutchess County budget passes within the tax cap with support from both sides of the aisle. The vote came after midnight and five long hours of debate. YNN's John Wagner breaks down what it means for taxpayers.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Dutchess County's executive says they've completed year one of a transition into tackling big issues head on. He has the 2013 budget to show for it, passing almost exactly as proposed.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, "This is I think the best we could put forward in the worst of economic times, and I think more importantly it does begin a multi-year effort to transform our county government."

The $409 million budget cuts spending by $2 million raises the tax levy by two percent and the effective tax rate by six. It eliminates 103 full time positions, many vacant, including 72 that took a buyout incentive earlier this year, leaving up to seven workers facing layoffs. Legislator Joel Tyner tried unsuccessfully to save the positions...

Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner said, "Ideology trumps common sense and ideology trumping the concerns of the taxpayers and the workers."

Molinaro said, "We have the smallest workforce we'll have in over 30 years, but most importantly we tried to do so in a very sensitive
transparent way."

The county bridged a $40 million budget gap by using its general fund, adding a new half percent mortgage recording tax, saving nearly $10 million through the workforce cuts, and another ten by capping the amount of sales tax the county shares with its cities and towns. The trickle down effect has left Beacon and Poughkeepsie moving to charge for garbage pickup, a polarizing issue, but the budget passed anyway with support from both sides of the aisle.

Dutchess County Legislator Richard Perkins said, "We all worked fairly well together this year. We're never going to have complete consensus on every issue."

The lone amendment set $2 million of sales tax in a competitive grant for cities that come up with ways to save taxpayer dollars.

Molinaro said, "We'll be the first municipality in New York State to really put our money where our mouth is and say to every level of government, we need to do more, we need to do better to consolidate, to enhance shared services and deliver a greater level of efficiency."

With one hurdle completed, much of the focus for 2013 now centers on plans for a new Dutchess County jail.

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