Dutchess 2023 budget cuts taxes, funds programs; what to know

Dutchess County’s executive is proposing a 2023 budget that would invest in preventing opioid-related deaths, encourage the creation of affordable rental housing, add youth safety and engagement services, and bolster law enforcement.

The roughly $560.4 million budget proposal, which cuts taxes, builds on programs already implemented prioritizing public safety, substance abuse and housing, which have been common themes in the county over the past several years.

“Our focus had been much broader because times were different,” said County Executive Marc Molinaro. “When I began, all I committed to public health, but that’s narrowed now to certain specific things, the post-pandemic world that we live in, the opioid epidemic.”

Molinaro introduced his spending plan, which lays out the county’s vision for the coming year, Tuesday in the Dutchess County Legislature’s chambers.

A view of the Walkway Over the Hudson from the City of Poughkeepsie on October 31, 2022.

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It’s a vision Molinaro may not be around to see come to fruition. The proposal comes one week before an Election Day in which Molinaro is vying with Democrat Josh Riley to represent the 19th Congressional District, which no longer includes a portion of Dutchess. Accordingly, speaking about his proposal Monday, Molinaro said he was hopeful the county can remedy many of its issues through initiatives such as its Housing Trust Fund and Stabilization Center, but was pessimistic about the status of safety in the county, blaming New York’s bail reform measures, which has been a popular talking point among Republican candidates throughout the election.

Should Molinaro win the election, for which early voting is already underway, he would be replaced by Deputy County Executive William F.X. O’Neil.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro reviews this presentation for the 2023 budget while inside the Dutchess County Legislature Chambers in the City of Poughkeepsie on October 31, 2022.

Democrats said they were not provided with a copy of the budget prior to the announcement on Tuesday. They also want to see more investments need to be made in the opioid crisis, homelessness and crime.

“Marcus Molinaro has had over a decade to tackle these issues head on,” said Legislature Minority Leader Yvette Valdes Smith, a Democrat representing Fishkill and Beacon in the 16th District. “The consistent underinvestment and neglect by Molinaro has exacerbated each and every one of these issues to the point of crisis.”

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