Dutchess County Budget Proposal 2022: Mental Health, Youth Services

Increasing services to those in need of mental health or addiction help, expanding program opportunities for youth and increasing emergency department resources are the goals of Dutchess County for the coming year.

County executive Marc Molinaro said the county would be able to fund these initiatives, as well as investments in veterans services, tourism and parks in the region, among others, while offering a discount. unprecedented tax.

Molinaro presented his draft spending plan on Wednesday as he stood between planes inside the recently completed hangar at the Dutchess Community College Aviation Center.

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The proposed budget provides total appropriations of $ 528.4 million, slightly higher than forecast for 2021, with reductions in property tax rates, sales tax and tax levy.

Here’s what was covered in the proposal:

Tax cuts to come

Various tax cuts were the focus of the budget presentation, with Molinaro touting more than $ 20 million in annual tax breaks.

From left to right, Alexa Hummel, Assistant Buyer, and Michael Smith, Assistant Manager of Elizabeth Boutique in Arlington's business district, browse the store's inventory on October 5, 2021.

It includes the proposed elimination of the county sales tax on clothing and footwear of up to $ 110 and the reduction in the county property tax rate by 10%.

Molinaro said the cuts could be made without appropriating the balance of funds or reducing programs or services provided by the county.

“What we’ve seen is both a robust throwback to sales tax generation,” he said, “which by the way, can fluctuate, but we’ve provided the ability to deal with the fluctuations, so the tax break we are offering today is sustainable into the future and that is why I am offering it. “

The proposed property tax is $ 99.8 million, down $ 5.5 million from 2021. The tax rate would drop from $ 3.18 to $ 2.85 per $ 1,000 real value assessments.

Empowerment Center and assistance initiatives

Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, Molinaro said the isolation resulting from the disease has caused special damage to some of the county’s most vulnerable.

“For 20 months, people living with addiction and mental wellness issues have been left in many ways to fight for themselves,” Molinaro said. “As a community, we will never accept it again. We will never again tolerate letting our most vulnerable live in isolation.”

The Dutchess County Stabilization Center is located at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie.

Part of the proposed budget for 2022 provides for the establishment of an Empowerment Center in the city of Poughkeepsie. The center would serve as a non-clinical, peer-run facility to help people struggling with substance use.

He is also calling for a mobile community health clinic, which would specifically target communities in northern and eastern Dutchess.

And the budget would strengthen the Dutchess HELPLINE, adding three crisis counselors to the hotline team connecting people with behavioral health professionals.

Veterans funding

Members of the Hudson Valley Nam Knights Motorcycle Club, left to right, Lour Retzer, Nestor Ramos, Mark Lunde and George Okon pay their respects at the Dutchess County Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony in Poughkeepsie on 11 November 2020.

The proposed budget is also intended to focus on services for veterans.

It includes the purchase of another vehicle for the VetZero transportation program, as well as funding for Mental Health America’s Housing, Employment, Reintegration and Outreach (HERO) program.

It would also fund the construction of a memorial along the Veterans Memorial Route in Hyde Park.

Investments in emergency response

The budget includes a $ 30 million investment in an emergency response communications system, which would provide equipment to local fire, EMS and police departments.

The proposals also include $ 3.9 million for domestic violence prevention services and $ 1 million for a new fire and rescue grant opportunity for first responders.

Following last year’s protests over the death of George Floyd, some residents of Dutchess have called for funding for local police and reallocating those funds to other services, such as mental health .

Molinaro rejected this prospect, supporting investments in local law enforcement.

“We don’t fund law enforcement in the county, we invest smartly,” he said. “By supporting the sacrifice and service of law enforcement, we give them the tools and resources they need to do their jobs well, and that’s our commitment.”

Youth services

The county has committed $ 25 million to the Youth Opportunity Union project in the town of Poughkeepsie, which would create a hub of activities and services available to young residents. The first $ 10 million comes from US bailout funds.

The Former YMCA of the City of Poughkeepsie on May 18, 2021.

The county has also allocated $ 3.1 million in ARP funds to a “Learn, Play, Create” grant program in which agencies supporting youth activities can apply for specific project-related funding. The budget proposal called for a $ 500,000 extension of this program, as part of a $ 3.5 million commitment to an agency partner grant program.

Meanwhile, for residents on the cusp of adulthood, the budget proposal includes an investment of $ 21.3 million in DCC programs.

Geoffrey Wilson: [email protected]; 845-437-4882; Twitter: @GeoffWilson_

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