Our guest this week was Red Hook resident and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.
Marc focused his remarks on the 14-months that Dutchess County has led the local effort against the coronavirus. He noted that across the nation, counties have responsibility for the logistical support for public health initiatives and that they carry the financial support for these efforts. Dutchess County entered the crisis in a strong fiscal position, but they anticipated $32,000 loss of revenues due to lower employment, including furloughed workers. In actuality, the county recovered earlier and stronger than anticipated because the local economy bounced back in the fourth quarter of 2020 as home improvement business generated sales tax growth. In addition, the stay-at-home phenomenon resulted in a shift in consumer spending to the county. And a high level of real estate transactions raised mortgage tax revenues for towns and municipalities in the county. As a result of these developments, the county is stronger fiscally than anticipated and is strategically refilling some county jobs. Federal support is needed, that support comes from FEMA. It is anticipated that Dutchess County will receive substantial Federal support over the next two years to cover revenue loss and COVID related spending. During the discussion following Marc’s remarks, the County Executive noted that individual municipalities can reject marijuana sales. That decision, however, has sales tax implications that they should consider. We thanked Marc for updating us on the county and for joining us for the meeting.