Dutchess Passes 2020 Budget

Beacon legislator votes ‘no’

The Dutchess County Legislature adopted a $514 million budget for 2020 by a vote of 22-2 on Dec. 5. Nick Page, whose district includes Beacon wards 1, 2 and 3, voted no, and Frits Zernike, whose district includes Beacon’s Ward 4, voted yes.

Page said he was concerned that “there isn’t enough attention being paid to environmental issues or to overruns on capital projects, including the second phase of the Dutchess County Stabilization Center, which is now on hold.”

He also said he was worried about the status of the Dutchess County jail project, which “has been downsized because we have already seen a significant drop in the number of people in our jail.” In addition, because bail reforms scheduled to go into effect in 2020 may further reduce the jail population, he said he was concerned that “the county administration appears set to move forward with jail construction before we have clarity” on their impact.

The budget reduced the property tax levy for the sixth consecutive year and lowered the property tax rate for the fifth straight year, from $3.45 to $3.27 per $1,000 of true value assessments.

Legislators added amendments that included $50,000 to the Division of Veterans’ Services to serve homeless veterans; $575,000 to the Department of Planning and Development for competitive grant programs; $200,000 to the Municipal Innovation Grant Program; $20,000 to the Office for the Aging to fund senior home care; and $20,000 to the Department of Behavioral and Community Health for additional opioid awareness, training and education.

The budget, with the amendments, was forwarded to County Executive Marc Molinaro for review and approval.

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