Dutchess County 2023 budget approved by committee

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Legislator Craig Brendli (foreground), and Legislator Randy Johnson at the committee meeting on Wednesday.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess County Legislature’s Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee made a few amendments to County Executive Marc Molinaro’s 2023 budget and voted to send the budget to the full legislature for consideration.

A public hearing on the tentative budget will be held on December 5, 2022, at 7 p.m., and the full legislature will vote on the adoption of the budget on December 8, 2022, at 7 p.m.

The committee on Wednesday night approved several amendments to Molinaro’s spending plan for next year.

Amendments approved by the committee:

  • $500,000 in additional funding for the Municipal Investment Grant program in the Planning & Development Department, for $1,000,000 total
  • $200,000 in additional funding for the Children’s Service Cabinet in the DCFS- Youth Admin Department, for $217,000 total
  • $150,000 in additional funding for the Office of the Aging’s community outreach, for $246,500 total
  • $4,000 in additional funding for the Dutchess County Behavioral & Community Health Department’s Veterinary Services, for $22,000 total
  • $25,000 in additional funding for the sheriff office’s SPCA program, for $103,000 total
  • $50,000 in additional funding for emergency response in the professional service program, for $298,883 total

Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver said, “This budget increase for the Municipal Investment Grant program, for additional fire, safety, and law enforcement grant opportunities, is a great move. We need to support our fire and law enforcement institutions, and grants like this are a great way to do it. These services are essential to our everyday lives, and we neglect them at our peril.”

Democratic Legislator Randy Johnson, who represents a portion of the City of Poughkeepsie, offered the amendment to provide additional funding for the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, faced questions from fellow Democrat and City of Poughkeepsie Legislator Barrington Atkins who wanted to know what the money was going to be used for and how many staff members would be paid by the additional funds.  The increase of $200,000 will help the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet with staffing issues, according to Johnson, so they will have the necessary people to complete their mission to serve our local youth and help them get the educational and life opportunities necessary to progress to a viable career.

“This grant to increase the budget for the Children’s Cabinet will not go to waste,” said Legislator Johnson. “The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet emerged as an outcome of the 2019 Poughkeepsie Summit at Harvard University. It brings together leaders and institutions across different sectors to help children and youth on their path from cradle to career, overcoming challenges of poverty and problems in education. I hope my colleagues will support this amendment.”

Budget, Finance, and Personnel Committee Chairman Michael Polasek (R-LaGrange) told Mid-Hudson News that more changes to the budget are possible when the full board meets on December 8th.  “I expect a few more amendments to be offered on the floor; I don’t know what they will be, but historically, a series of amendments are made prior to the full legislature voting on the budget.”