Dutchess County hosts Government Efficiency Plan Workshop for Local Municipalities

Dutchess County hosts Government Efficiency Plan Workshop for Local Municipalities

County Executive Marcus Molinaro Addresses Government Efficiency Plan WorkshopDutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro welcomed more than two dozen local officials to the Dutchess County Office Building today for a special workshop about the Government Efficiency Plan (GEP) required to meet the guidelines of New York State’s Property Tax Freeze Credit Law and ensure property tax rebates for thousands of County residents in 2016. Dutchess County Government has offered to serve as the lead entity to develop a countywide GEP submission on behalf of all local municipalities that are eligible and choose to participate in this important initiative.

County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Our focus on cost reduction, shared service and consolidation means Dutchess County Government is well positioned to submit a Government Efficiency Plan that exceeds the required savings. We are encouraging all of our local municipalities to join us in a joint countywide plan submission that delivers property tax rebates to as many residents as possible. We are grateful to have so many local officials join us today for this important cooperative effort.”

The state’s Property Tax Freeze Credit Law encourages local governments and school districts to generate long-term tax relief for taxpayers by sharing services, consolidating or merging, and implementing operational efficiencies. In the first year of the program (2015), eligible homeowners who reside in local taxing jurisdictions that stayed within the property tax cap will receive a property tax rebate check. “Dutchess County’s 2015 County Budget reduces the property tax levy by the largest amount in over 14 years, ensuring eligible residents will receive a property tax rebate check in the fall of 2015,” said County Executive Molinaro.

For its residents to be eligible for rebates in the fall of 2016, municipalities must stay within the tax cap AND develop and implement a GEP that is determined to be compliant by the state’s Division of Budget. To be eligible in 2016, government entities must submit a GEP that projects a 1 percent levy savings for 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The Dutchess County Budget Office has been working with the New York State Division of Budget to understand the State’s requirements for plan submission. The State is encouraging county-coordinated plans to streamline the submission process. At today’s workshop, Dutchess County Budget Director Valerie Sommerville provided an overview of the Property Tax Freeze Credit program, discussed the process for submitting a GEP and what is required of eligible municipalities that choose to participate in the countywide submission. All GEP plans must be submitted to the state Division of Budget by June 1, 2015.

Town of Wappinger Supervisor Barbara Gutzler, who also serves as President of the Dutchess County Supervisors and Mayors Association said, “I think this is going to be a good partnership. There have been a lot of questions about what is required for these Government Efficiency Plans. Dutchess County was quick to respond to the needs of its towns and villages, and this latest collaboration will help the County’s municipalities come together, pool our resources and benefit our residents. I thank Dutchess County Government and County Executive Molinaro for their leadership.”

Today’s workshop was part of Dutchess County Government’s continued efforts to promote shared services and collaboration. The County offers a number of shared service opportunities for local governments as well as the successful Municipal Consolidation and Shared Services Grant Program (MCSSGP) that allows municipalities to compete for dollars to evaluate and implement larger collaboration and consolidation projects. Last fall, the County brought together over 100 local and state officials at its first Shared Services Summit as part of this ongoing effort.

“Dutchess County will continue to lead the charge to maximize efficiency and reduce the overall cost of government. We are grateful for the continued partnership and cooperation from our local municipal leaders as we work together to drive down costs for our shared residents and taxpayers,” concluded County Executive Molinaro.

Author: Harlem Valley News