Dutchess County adopts $502M 2021 budget despite lawmakers' opposition due to staffing reductions
Dutchess County has adopted a $502 million budget for 2021, even though several legislators rejected it due to the impact of staffing reductions.
The adopted budget is about $18 million less than last year and contains no layoffs and no increase to property taxes.
While many are celebrating, some opponents are not convinced and say the savings come at a cost— after a year when about 150 employees accepted a voluntary buyout to fix finances impacted by the pandemic.
Dutchess County Legislator Brennan Kearney is one of the eight Democratic legislators who voted no, citing 31 fewer jobs in the health department in the middle of a pandemic.
"This portion of the budget is an abdication of our most essential jobs as elected officials to protect our constituents and all residents of the county," Kearney says.
However, the county executive says they've added staff to help with the pandemic and that the opposing legislators did not suggest any changes during the budget process.
Kearney admitted she didn't offer any amendments, but says legislators have previously voiced concerns.
The county executive plans to review the budget and sign it with the final seal of approval at the county Legislature's board meeting on Dec. 14.