You can become involved in the county’s 2014 budget process by giving Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro your feedback on it.
Molinaro is again asking for residents’ input in an online budget survey that provides an overview of where county government’s revenue comes from and how county dollars are spent. This year, the survey includes a “Help Us Balance the Budget” section, where residents can make their own decisions on revenue and expense items needed to close a projected $27 million gap for the 2014 budget.
“The challenge of developing the county budget becomes more daunting each year, particularly since our state leaders have not yet followed through on their commitment to balance the property tax cap legislation with significant mandate relief,” Molinaro said in a county news release. “As long as we are shackled by state legislation and mandates that limit local decision-making about local tax dollars, there will continue to be fewer resources available to fund the optional programs and services important to residents including 911, law enforcements, parks, veterans’ services, mental health and more.”
In the survey, residents get an overview of county revenue and expenditures, with a breakdown that shows mandated and optional programs and services. Since optional programs are where there’s flexibility in funding levels, residents can prioritize optional program areas and also provide information about how frequently they use those programs. Residents will also be asked to evaluate community needs based on several category areas provided by community partner agencies.
The survey is available until Oct. 11 on the county website at www.dutchessny.gov/CountyGov/Departments/Budget/21603.htm Survey results will be utilized as final 2014 budget decisions are made before the required Nov. 1 release of the Executive budget.
For those who do not have Internet access or want to complete a paper survey, copies are available in both English and Spanish at the Dutchess County Budget Office in the County Office Building, 22 Market St., Poughkeepsie or at the Dutchess County Department of Motor Vehicle offices in Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Millbrook, Pawling and Wappinger.