Carmel, NY – Earlier this week, County Executive Kevin Byrne and the Putnam County Legislature finalized the 2024 County Budget, officially enacting multiple tax reductions, making new commitments to mental health services, investing record amounts in capital planning, and committing to responsible fiscal management. This budget comes amid continued financial stress on a national scale, as well as increased mandates and financial claw backs from Albany.
The county’s final 2024 budget reduces the property tax rate to 2.85%, the lowest rate in 15 years and represents an 8% reduction from the previous year’s rate of 3.12%. This is also the first county budget in 25 years to reduce the overall tax burden for residents; reducing the property tax levy and cutting sales tax over two years. Beginning in March of 2024, sales tax on clothing and footwear under $110 will be eliminated. There is a sunset clause built in for the sales tax exemption after two years. During this period, Putnam County will evaluate the fiscal impact to the county, its residents, and will have the option to renew the tax cut in 2026.
“Identifying savings and passing on that savings to residents has been, and will continue to be, a hallmark of this administration,” said County Executive Byrne. “Together, with our partners in the Legislature, we’ve been able to capitalize on real opportunities to provide for a more affordable, accountable, and accessible government.”
In addition to reducing the tax burden, the 2024 budget also provides for the expansion of mental health services for residents and continues to protect vulnerable populations by filling Medicaid gaps created by cuts from Albany. The Department of Mental Health, Social Services & Youth Buruea will hire a Director of Mental Health who will help strengthen the county’s relationship with providers such as CoveCare, play a critical role in overseeing a new Stabilization Center in Putnam County, while also serving as a resource for those in crisis and their families.
The adopted budget also includes a substantial investment in infrastructure by refocusing on the county charter mandated 6-year capital plan with an emphasis on making county facilities more accessible to the public, regardless of physical ability. This is part of the county’s renewed commitment to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY,” a movement to change the way government, businesses and our community think about and treat those individuals with disabilities.
All of this is achieved with no new borrowing, preserving the County’s AA1 bond rating; the second highest possible bond rating and the highest rating of any county in New York. Due to interest rates being extremely high, the county is also exercising sound fiscal planning by utilizing moneys from its capital reserve fund to support a number of larger scale capital projects instead of bonding and paying more in the long run.
Byrne continued, “we have been trusted with a tremendous responsibility to manage the finances of this county during some extraordinary times. We will continue to demonstrate fiscal discipline, while also finding creative ways to provide all the essential services that our residents have come to rely on, and strengthening those services where necessary.”
A number of moderate modifications were made by the County Legislature during the adoption process and approved by the County Executive. Those that the County Executive believed were inappropriate were vetoed. Click here to view the resolutions and vetoes.