Mandate Relief

Budget Office
Jessica White, Budget Director

 

Mandates continue to consume 70% of every county tax dollar. We work diligently to control these costs and minimize the impact to taxpayers.

 

Graphic: Your 2018 County Dollar

State Mandates Dominate County Costs

In Dutchess County, 70% of net county costs are required to pay for mandated programs and services.  The remaining 30% is “optional spending,” including crucial government functions such as health and mental health services, sheriff road patrols, road repair, snow removal, public transportation, 911 dispatch, and senior services.

Mandates continue to dominate our budget, including the top five net-to-county mandated costs:

  • $41.3 million for Medicaid;
  • $12.8 million for Foster Care;
  • $3.6 million for Safety Net;
  • $11 million for the Preschool Special Education & Early Intervention Programs; and
  • $38.7 million for Jail operating expenses.
     

The County continues to be a strong vocal advocate for mandate relief from New York State, by recommending either to remove the mandated cost or to provide the funding required to deliver the program or service. 
 

Growing Mandated Costs in 2018

In 2018, the Pre-school Special Education Program mandated cost increases are significant. As the State rightly moves toward the expansion of universal Pre-K and integrated classrooms in school districts are added, costs will continue to climb for counties. Each child who qualifies for special education services in an integrated classroom, costs approximately $35,000 based on rates approved by the State. Additionally, children who are only approved for related services, such as speech, occupational, and physical therapy are finding it more difficult to find providers in our area as the surrounding counties pay higher rates. The County must increase the amount we pay per session in order to remain competitive and provide options for service providers in Dutchess.

The State also mandates the County pay a capital chargeback rate to community colleges outside of the county attended by Dutchess County residents. Although this rate is supposed to apply only to two-year community colleges, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is included in the chargeback rates even though it offers advanced degree programs. For 2018, the State has approved an increase of 23% in the chargeback rate the County will have to pay to FIT, and it is projected we will have to pay almost $1.3 million to this one college alone. That amounts to nearly 40% of the $3.5 million we will pay to all community colleges.

The most recent mandate included in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget is the new “Raise the Age” legislation. This new legislation raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 over a two-year period beginning in October 2018. There are system-wide implications, and many questions still unanswered. The County will continue to prepare for the changes, and funds have been included in the 2018 Budget to help with implementation.

Long-Standing Mandates Ripe for Reform

Join us in calling for the State to: Repeal the MTA Payroll Tax, Keep DMV Fee Revenue Local & Fund State Mandated Public Defense.

Repeal of the MTA Payroll Tax

Dutchess County Government, like all corporations, private and independently owned companies, not-for-profit agencies, hospitals, school districts and others, must pay 34 cents on every $100.00 of payroll.  The MTA payroll tax has cost Dutchess County Government more than $2.2 million since its inception in 2009 and represented an additional cost of $400,000 for residents in 2017.  Dutchess County has called for the immediate repeal of the payroll tax.

Increase in Revenue Share for State DMV Services Provided by Dutchess County

The Dutchess County Clerk’s Office is mandated by New York State (NYS) to operate a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Office, a prime example of the services provided by counties for NYS. Under current law, NYS takes 87.3% of all fees collected and the remaining 12.7% local share has not increased since 1999, despite the increasing cost and workload for local DMV offices.  The Dutchess County has advocated for an increase in the county share of DMV revenue, to help offset the count cost associated with operating local DMV offices.

Fund State Mandated Public Defense

Dutchess County has supported state-wide efforts to require the state to fully fund indigent legal services, a $3.7 million cost to Dutchess County. Proposed bills would not only rectify an inequity – the state was ordered to fund these costs for five counties in the state – but it would also ensure that every individual, regardless of means, has access to their constitutionally protected right to legal defense. The resolution “Public Defense Mandate Relief Act” was passed by both the NYS Senate and Assembly in 2016, would have produced significant and lasting mandate relief, but was vetoed by Governor Cuomo.

 

 


 

Jessica White
Budget Director
Dutchess County Seal

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