POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee of the Dutchess County Legislature proposed and approved several amendments to the County Executive’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Topics of amendments featured veterans, at-risk youth, law enforcement and tourism. A public hearing on the proposed County Budget will be on December 4th at 7PM in the Legislature Chambers on the 6th Floor of the County Office Building. The full County Legislature will vote to approve the County Budget on December 7, 2023.

Amendments offered by the Committee included:

  • $2,000 (Metzger) – Expand tobacco and alcohol under-age compliance checks to cannabis
  • $50,000 (Caswell) – Add funding for the Dutchess Tourism ‘Stay Local’ Campaign
  • $350,000 (Keith) – Increase to the Dutchess County Deputy Sheriff Road Patrol Overtime
  • $45,000 (Johnson) – Increase grant funding to at-risk youth after school programming
  • $100,000 (Houston) – New funding for capital repairs to upgrade and replace American Legions, VFWs and other Veteran halls and grant funding for therapeutic animal programming for Veteran organizations.
  • $2,000 (Houston) – New funding to purchase Veteran Challenge Coins for Veterans Affairs Committee Members

In an effort to offset the proposed expenses, the Legislature offered the following amendments to increase the budget revenues:

  • $673,867 (Sagliano) – Increase offset of debt service
  • $297,000 (Sagliano) – Revision of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Revenue Sharing Formula
  • $720 (Metzger) – State reimbursement for under-age compliance checks

“As Chairman of the Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee and after careful review of the Department testimony and feedback from our community, I am proud of the amendments offered by our Committee Members that will further enhance the quality of living in our community,” said Legislator Michael Polasek. “The County Legislature has a responsibility to the taxpayers of Dutchess County to be responsible with their tax dollars, and I believe the amendments set forth in the 2024 Budget show our commitment to increasing public services and finding the appropriate revenue to offset our new expenditures.”

Legislator Deirdre Houston said, “Our Veterans have shown a great deal of service, not only during their time in the military, but also in their local community since their discharge. I am proud to offer an amendment that would fund a grant program for American Legion, VFWs and other Veteran Halls to make necessary capital repairs, but also for the creation of a grant funding opportunity for a therapeutic riding program. Whether our Veterans are struggling with PTSD or any other mental health challenges, or are looking for ways to connect with other Veterans, the County Legislature has a duty to do whatever we can to enhance their quality of life.”

Legislator Tom Keith said, “As a former law enforcement officer, protecting our communities needs to remain a top priority of any governing body, and I am pleased my colleagues are recognizing that as well. Ensuring our Sheriff’s Department has the tools and resources to defend and be proactive against crime has never been more important and I am proud to do whatever I can to support them.”

Legislator Jon Metzger said, “Several years ago when vaping products took off, this Legislature made an amendment to the Budget to add age compliance checks for these additional products. We have seen a surge in cannabis products, such as CBD, all over the nation, and we need to ensure that only adults over the age of 21 have access.”

Legislator Steve Caswell said, “Dutchess Tourism goes above and beyond to attract visitors from all over the State and Country to showcase all that Dutchess County has to offer, but far too often I hear from our own neighbors who are going to neighboring Counties when looking for things to do. The added funds to their budget will allow them to implement a ‘Stay Local’ campaign that will spotlight all of the exciting things available to do here and help us all recognize what a special place Dutchess County is.”

Author: Harlem Valley News