FACT CHECK: Red Hook Budget Cuts

Why did the Red Hook Town Board cut the budget?

Based on data from Dutchess County and the NYS Comptroller’s office, the town estimates a potential shortfall in sales taxes and other revenues of between $200K and $300K in the next 12 months alone – perhaps more. This is the result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, shutdowns, economic recession and mass unemployment.

How many positions were cut or reduced?

Among others, the following reductions were made to the 2020 budget (calculated in hours by department, FTE means Full Time Employee = 30 hours, PTE means Part Time Employee):

  • Purchasing: 61% reduction
    Eliminated 61% of 1 part-time position
    Supervisor taking on those responsibilities without extra pay
  • Assessor: 35% reduction
    Reduced 1.4 FTE to 0.9 FTE
  • Town Clerk Dept: 25% reduction
    Reduced 2 FTE to 1.5 FTE
  • Building & Zoning: 24% reduction
    Reduced 37h FTE -> 28h PTE combined
  • Highway Dept: 24% reduction
    Eliminated 2 FTE and reduced one PTE by 10h
  • Judicial: 20% reduction
    One of three part-time clerk positions eliminated, judges considered ½ FTE
  • Bookkeeping: 14% reduction
    Eliminated 1 part-time position

But maybe the budget situation won’t be that bad – why not wait?

Delayed cuts often lead to deeper cuts (or bigger tax hikes) that will be required later. Supervisor McKeon and the Red Hook Town Board decided to act sooner rather than later. Temporary federal support for laid off workers was available to help offset workers with reduced hours or layoffs. All municipalities are facing similar decisions.

Town Clerk (and the Republicans) claim only her office and the Highway Department were cut.

Not true, cuts were spread across many departments and programs as you can see above. In fact, cuts were deeper in some other departments AND the Deputy Clerk was given a raise to help mitigate the cut to part-time.

Does she not know there were other cuts?

She is at the town board meetings. She knows.

So why are the Town Clerk and Republicans claiming that only clerk and highway departments were cut?

They are playing politics with the budget cuts to attack the supervisor and town board.

What do you mean playing politics?!

Town Clerk is an elected position, not someone hired (or fired) by the town board. She is a Republican elected official who has been involved in local politics and has campaigned against Democrats for many years.

The Red Hook Town Board is Democratic. The Clerk is a Republican. She and her Republican friends are making false claims about the budget cuts to try to score cheap political points against the Democrats.

But the Town Clerk quit her job in protest!

The Clerk resigned and will enjoy early retirement with a healthy public pension after many years of service. She had reportedly been planning to retire at the end of her term next year but apparently decided that she wasn’t ready to do more with less during this time of belt-tightening in town government. By quitting she is trying to play the victim to score even more political points against Democrats in the process.

The Clerk and Republicans say that the targeted cuts show a bias against women.

The cuts were not targeted – there were cuts in many departments and programs. This is just a nasty smear on top of the petty partisan politics from someone who’s unhappy that cuts were made to their department. Most of the departments understood the situation and were more than willing to make the best of this unexpected circumstance. 

It is not surprising that two elected officials who run with Republican support would oppose cuts proposed by a Democratic town board. After all, neither of them have to raise taxes if no cuts are made.

2020 Update: Red Hook Dems offer $500 scholarship to Red Hook Senior

DEADLINE MONDAY APRIL 20

The Red Hook Democratic Committee is urging local high school seniors to apply for our annual $500 scholarship award. To enter this year’s competition DOWNLOAD INFORMATION AND APPLICATION HERE: 2020RHDC-Scholarship-Application

SEND A RED HOOK GRAD TO COLLEGE:  donate at Red Hook Dems GOFUNDME PAGE!

Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to our community though at least a written essay or ideally, a creative project using visual or interactive media. “It’s easy to complain about the problems we see around us–but today young people in Red Hook and elsewhere are getting involved and working on real solutions. Think of this project as a way to get the word out–tell a story about your good idea, or show an example of how you or someone you know has made a difference.”

Candidates must be 2020 Red Hook High School graduates, and have study plans in the coming 2020-21 academic yearthis can include college, university, technical or vocational training or other post-secondary education program or non-paid internship.

See application above for more details and contact info.

Send a Red Hook grad to college: Help fund our 2019 scholarship!

The Red Hook Dems annual scholarship for a senior graduating from Red Hook High School was first offered in 2011. The Red Hook Democratic Committee will continue this tradition again this year—pledging a five hundred dollar scholarship to encourage a worthy student to pursue further studies beyond High School.

Contribute at our GoFundMe page.

We are excited to give this gift to our community. We are celebrating the fact that the Red Hook Democratic Committee is an established and vital part of Red Hook. We are doing this to highlight our shared values of community service, empowering our youth and our belief in the importance of education.

A graduate will receive the 2019 award this May 30 at the Red Hook High School Awards night. This scholarship has been coordinated with the High School administration and application forms have been made available to the student body.

We are asking for your participation in this effort. A modest contribution will help us to bring a student’s dreams closer. We have already collected some of the donations needed to fully fund this year’s award. Please consider joining us with your contribution to this worthwhile effort.

We know that when we all pull together, great things happen. Let today be one of those days when we join to make our town a better place.

To enter this year’s competition DOWNLOAD COMPLETE INFORMATION AND APPLICATION HERE.

Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to our community though at least a written essay or ideally, a creative project using visual or interactive media. “It’s easy to complain about the problems we see around us–but today young people in Red Hook and elsewhere are getting involved and working on real solutions. Think of this project as a way to get the word out–tell a story about your good idea, or show an example of how you or someone you know has made a difference.”

Candidates must be 2019 Red Hook High School graduates, and have study plans in the coming 2019-20 academic yearthis can include college, university, technical or vocational training or other post-secondary education program or non-paid internship.

Red Hook Dems offer $500 scholarship to 2015 RHHS grad

DEADLINE WEDNESDAY APRIL 15!

The Red Hook Democratic Committee is urging local high school seniors to apply for the Annual RHDC $500 scholarship award. To enter this year’s competition DOWNLOAD COMPLETE INFORMATION AND APPLICATION HERE.

Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to our community though at least a written essay or ideally, a creative project. “One of the best entries from previous years was a multi-media project where the senior had interviewed friends and family about our community,” said chair John Schmitz.

“This is an opportunity to have fun and, instead of just more selfies, use your phone (camera) for something really creative and make a real comment about the community you live in.” Candidates must be a 2015 Red Hook High School graduates, and have study plans in the 2015-6 academic yearthis can include college, university, technical or vocational training or other post-secondary education program or non-paid internship.