MonroeCounty.gov; Cheryl Dinolfo, County Executive

More Jobs, Better Budgets, Stronger Families

Contact Information

Office of Management and Budget

301 County Office Building
39 W. Main St.
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: 585 753-1260
Fax: 585 753-1254

DINOLFO CLOSES BUDGET WEEK WITH A BANG: UNVEILS A BETTER, LOWER-TAX BUDGET FOR 2019

Closing out Monroe County’s first-ever Budget Week, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo presented her full Proposed 2019 Budget on Better Budgets Day. Her third since taking office as County Executive, Dinolfo’s 2019 Budget delivers the first County property tax rate cut in a decade, holds spending below inflation, reduces the County’s state mandate driven structural deficit, and does it all while fully-funding County investments in programs and initiatives to grow more jobs and support stronger families in the coming year. 

Dinolfo’s 2019 Budget cuts the County property tax rate by ten cents, to $8.89 per $1,000 of taxable value, and will ultimately result in over $4 million in savings for local taxpayers.

“For the first time in a decade, we will be delivering a tax rate cut for our hardworking residents, families, and businesses in the coming year,” said Dinolfo. “At a time when homeowners are facing tax hikes at nearly every turn, Monroe County is doing its part to lessen the burden for everyone who calls our community home. I’m especially proud we were able to build this better, lower-tax budget while still fully-funding our efforts to grow more jobs and support stronger families in 2019 and beyond.”

More Jobs

Full Investment in More Jobs and a Growing Economy

In 2019, Monroe County will invest nearly $2.5 million in its Department of Planning and Development, which administers many of the County’s economic development and workforce development programs, services, and initiatives. These include several innovative programs launched by Dinolfo to grow more jobs and a stronger workforce in Monroe County, including LadderzUp, Recruiting on the Road, and Make Monroe Home, among others. Since 2016, the County’s Department of Planning and Development has assisted in the creation of more than 13,000 local jobs and the retention of over 6,000 local jobs, for a total of nearly 19,000 local jobs secured in just under three years.

Continued Expansion of County’s Innovative LadderzUp Program

Launched in 2017, LadderzUp is a flexible and collaborative workforce development initiative designed to serve Monroe County residents by providing education and training opportunities aligned with current and future job openings in in-demand industries. Since its inception, LadderzUp has been a partnership between Monroe County and Monroe Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development Center. To date, the program has worked with dozens of local employers to train over 575 residents to fill in-demand jobs like metal fabrication, project management, precision welding, customer service, and more.

New for 2019, Monroe County has selected Monroe Community College as its long-term partner for the LadderzUp program through a Request for Proposals process. As a result, LadderzUp will be a permanent program supported by the Monroe County Budget moving forward. Monroe County will also be building on the success of its first-of-its-kind LadderzUp Plastics Consortium – wherein local employers pooled the cost of sending their employees or recruits to specialized plastics injection training – by launching new Consortiums designed for growing industries like HVAC and facilities maintenance.

“Recruiting on the Road” to Reach More Job Seekers

Recruiting on the Road is Monroe County’s unique travelling job fair series, which has brought together dozens of hiring local employers and hundreds of interested job seekers at convenient locations all across the County. In 2018 alone, Monroe County hosted more than twelve different Recruiting on the Road job fairs, featuring over 150 hiring businesses and attracting over 1,500 local job seekers.

Dinolfo’s Proposed 2019 County Budget will support the continued expansion of Recruiting on the Road. In the coming year, Monroe County will host more Recruiting on the Road job fairs than ever before, with events coming to the four quadrants of the City of Rochester, as well as regional anchor events in the North, South, West, and Eastside communities of Monroe County, among other locations. Residents can find more information about all of Monroe County’s upcoming Recruiting on the Road job fairs at ImagineMonroe.org

Construction to Start for “Jobs on Main” Initiative this Spring

As the County transforms its newly-purchased City Place downtown office building – a move that will save taxpayers nearly $1 million per year – Dinolfo’s 2019 Budget supports the relocation of the County’s Economic Development offices from the 8th floor to the 1st floor to make the County’s jobs team more accessible to residents and employers alike. Better access, more convenient layout, collaborative meeting space, prominent exterior signage and 21st century feel are just a few of the benefits that the new location will offer the County’s Economic Development efforts in 2019 and beyond. Construction for the Jobs on Main project will begin this spring and is projected to be complete by November of 2019.

Changes Will Make “Make Monroe Home” More Efficient, Effective

Through Make Monroe Home, Monroe County partners with the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership and the Rochester Housing Development Fund to rehabilitate vacant “zombie” homes, return these properties to active ownership, and improve neighborhood home values, all while partnering with Monroe BOCES 1 and 2 to provide students with skilled-trades training. First launched earlier this year, the program also provides first-time homebuyers and/or veterans of the armed forces with affordable financing terms to purchase the newly renovated home.

New for 2019, Monroe County will expand its partnership with Monroe BOCES 1 and 2 to make Make Monroe Home more efficient and effective. Instead of selecting properties to renovate, Monroe County will begin seeking extremely dilapidated properties in order to proceed with a full demolition. The County will then provide a shovel-ready parcel to BOCES, whose students will build a brand new home in place of the dilapidated structure. Monroe County will begin the property selection process in spring of 2019.

Major Job-Supporting Investment in Local Infrastructure

Next year, Monroe County will invest almost $33 million in local transportation infrastructure, including dozens of local road and bridge projects, plus the first phase of the much anticipated $24 million Highway Lighting program.  Throughout 2019, the Monroe County Department of Transportation will be installing new energy-efficient, resilient LED lights along I-490 from the I-390 interchange to Downtown, and along I-390 from the Airport to Route 104, among other locations. Monroe County’s $33 million investment in local road, bridge, and lighting projects will support over 700 local jobs and make a $100 million economic impact next year alone.

Better Budgets

Tax Cut

Dinolfo’s 2019 Budget is balanced, cuts the property tax rate, holds overall spending below the rate of inflation, and complies with the Monroe County Taxpayer Protection Act and New York State Property Tax Cap.

Thanks to Dinolfo’s continued top-to-bottom review of every function of County government, the 2019 Budget also effectively manages limited resources by streamlining services, implementing operational efficiencies, and securing sustainable savings for taxpayers.

Dinolfo’s 2019 Operating Budget, totaling around $1.23 billion, holds overall spending growth to 1%, well below the rate of inflation, calculated at 2.3% using the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

County Credit Rating Remains All “A’s”

Monroe County’s credit ratings remain strong, according to multiple international bond rating agencies. S&P Global Ratings released their latest report on the County’s credit standing in June, affirming the County’s ‘A’ rating while upgrading its long-term outlook to ‘Positive’ from ‘Stable’.  Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the County’s credit rating from ‘Baa1’ to ‘A3’ in February, 2018 for the first time since 2012. Fitch Ratings, the third major credit rating agency, upgraded the County’s credit to ‘A’ in July, 2017.

According to both S&P and Moody’s, the improvement of Monroe County’s bond rating is attributed to the County’s commitment to fiscally-responsible budgeting and local economic growth. Both agencies recognize Monroe County as an economic driver in Upstate New York. Their analysis is rooted in the County’s strengthening economic standing, as well as a diverse and growing tax base. Ultimately, municipalities that boast stronger credit ratings and outlooks receive favorable interest rates in borrowing transactions, saving taxpayer dollars.

Bridging the Gap to a Balanced Budget

As state mandated costs continue to outpace the growth of local revenues, most New York counties will face a significant structural resource gap for 2019. In fact, Monroe County began its 2019 Budget process facing an approximately $21 million mandate-driven structural gap for the coming year.

The 2019 Proposed Budget balances county spending through a combination of cost controls and non-property tax bearing revenue enhancements, including: $10 million in savings from the effective management of County healthcare costs; $4 million from the responsible sale of property tax liens; $4 million in growth from local sales tax receipts; $1 million in new interest income; and $2 million in annual savings achieved through the dissolution of Local Development Corporations.

As a result of forward-thinking financial planning, the 2019 Budget is also balanced without any layoffs, “one-shot” revenue enhancements, or new “below the line” service charges.

Mandate-Driven Structural Deficit Reduced Again

The 2019 Budget additionally succeeds in further cutting the County’s mandate-driven, long-term structural deficit in the coming year. The 2019 Budget reduces the County’s two-year forecasted structural deficit by $8 million to $28.4 million.

As a result, the County’s two-year forecasted structural deficit has been cut to just a quarter of the $106.2 million deficit projected just six years ago in 2012.

Ending LDCs Keeps Saving Tax Dollars

Dinolfo’s dissolution of several Local Development Corporations will continue to produce significant savings for taxpayers in the 2019 Budget. By ending duplicative contractual obligations, refinancing debt on more favorable terms to the county, and better managing costs by returning county functions to county control, the dissolution of several LDCs will save taxpayers over $2 million in the coming year. In total, Dinolfo’s decision to end Monroe County LDCs is anticipated to save local taxpayers over $31 million through 2034.

Mandated Spending Hurts Taxpayers and Our Economy

The single largest portion of Monroe County’s 2019 Budget is mandated spending, accounting for 85% of the County’s total spending for the coming year.

According to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), nine state-mandated programs and services consume 99% of all property taxes collected across New York State, outside of New York City. Those programs include Medicaid, Public Assistance, Child Welfare, Indigent Defense, Pre-K Special Education, Probation, Early Intervention, Youth Detention, and Public Employee Pensions. High property taxes are a leading cause of the outward migration of residents and businesses from New York State.

New for the coming year, Monroe County’s 2019 Proposed Budget reflects the additional mandated cost of implementing New York State’s Raise the Age juvenile justice initiative. It has been projected that the capital costs associated with delivering new facilities, improvements, and equipment required to comply with Raise the Age will cost Monroe County taxpayers approximately $20 million. New personnel and programming costs will add at least an additional $11 million in annual, recurring expenses.

While the legislation that authorized the Raise the Age initiative promised full state reimbursement to counties for their Raise the Age costs, Dinolfo is asking members on both sides of the aisle in the Monroe County Legislature to join her advocacy to hold Albany to that promise in order to best protect local taxpayers.


Stronger Families

Extension of the Paths to Empowerment Program

Through the Paths to Empowerment program, the Monroe County Department of Human Services and Rochester Rehabilitation partner to coordinate existing resources, programs and services to maximize success for individuals formerly on public assistance who are transitioning to employment. Paths to Empowerment utilizes evidence-based practices to surround former public assistance clients with support services, including self-sufficiency planning, job coaching, job placement, financial literacy, drop-in childcare and career advancement planning, among others.

Since its launch in 2017, Paths to Empowerment has served over 3,000 individuals and their families, yielding a 90% success rate. As a result of Paths to Empowerment’s incredible progress, Monroe County recently exercised a contract option to continue the program in partnership with Rochester Rehabilitation for another year. Through the Proposed Budget, Monroe County is projected to help serve over 1,700 families in 2019.

Evidenced-based programs like Paths to Empowerment are producing improved outcomes for at-risk individuals across Monroe County. From 2016, through present, Monroe County’s temporary assistance caseload dropped from over 12,600 to under 10,000 – an unprecedented decrease of over 20%. Over the same period, Monroe County also increased the number of temporary assistance clients who gained employment by 12%, representing the largest increase of all major counties outside of New York City.

A Strong Commitment to Children and Families

For the second year, Monroe County’s 2019 Budget will include a full accounting of all county programs, services, and initiatives that benefit local children and families. In the coming year, Monroe County will invest more than $560 million in these efforts, representing nearly 50% of its $1.2 billion Operating Budget.

The County’s investments in local services for children and families include: Over $71 million in Sales Tax payments to local schools that help keep teachers on the job and students in the classroom; more than $48 million to support affordable child care that helps more parents transition from welfare to work; over $34 million to support Preschool Special Education; over $22 million to support Child Protective Services; more than $20 million to support Child Preventive Services; and nearly $10 million to support Early Intervention programming, among other services.

Continued Implementation of the CPS Eight Point Plan

Dinolfo announced Monroe County’s Eight Point Plan to enhance the Child Protective Services Unit in October of 2017. The 2019 Proposed County Budget maintains funding for the 30 new CPS Caseworker positions first funded in the 2018 Budget. The 2019 Proposed Budget also maintains the upgrade to the CPS Caseworker salary schedule initially delivered in 2018.

New for the 2019 Proposed Budget, Dinolfo has called for the addition of 30 new Casework Aides to assist CPS Caseworkers with the completion of their day to day duties. These new employees will play a critical role in helping Caseworkers compile case notes, complete reports, and file the necessary paperwork with the New York State Office of Children and Families Services, thereby providing more opportunities for caseworkers to focus their attention and efforts on investigations of child abuse and neglect.

Since the implementation of the Eight Point Plan, the Monroe County Department of Human Services (MCDHS) has delivered a 19% decrease in the number of open CPS investigations, while the average caseload size per worker has fallen by 15%. MCDHS has also achieved a 75% CPS Caseworker retention rate for the March 20, 2017 training class at their one-year hiring anniversary – an increase from 57% at the same period in 2015.

Additional elements of the Eight Point Plan include: making handheld smart tablets available to all CPS Caseworkers in the field; reestablishing a local Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline; conducting a comprehensive review of state laws, regulations and guidelines that govern CPS casework; launching a new CPS Mentoring Program; developing a public marketing campaign to boost the recruitment and retention of CPS workers; and assigning a new Recruitment Coordinator to help more CPS recruits move from application to employment.

New Deputy Director of Human Services Named

After a recent reorganization of the MCDHS administration and management structure, the 2019 Proposed Budget supports the addition of a new Deputy Commissioner for Children and Family Services position to the Department. The new Deputy Commissioner will be specifically charged with overseeing the administration and operation of all functions of MCDHS’s Child and Family Services Division, including the Child Protective Services (CPS) Unit. The Deputy Commissioner for Children and Family Services will work closely with MCDHS Commissioner Corinda Crossdale to advance the implementation of the CPS Eight Point Plan, while supporting the continued enhancement of the CPS Unit.

During today’s Stronger Families Day presentation, Dinolfo announced that she will be appointing Anne M. Eichas to the newly-created position of Deputy Commissioner for Children and Family Services. Eichas possesses over 35 years of professional experience in human services delivery, with particular expertise in the field of child and family services. Eichas most recently served as Vice President of Programs for the Villa of Hope, where she was responsible for managing a $23 million annual budget, strengthening community programs through the implementation of evidence based programming, and enhancing the program services offered to youth and families. Eichas will begin work in her new position by January of 2019.

Unprecedented Investments in Public Safety

In the Proposed 2019 Budget, Monroe County will be making unprecedented investments in public safety. This includes the final implementation of a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system at the City-County 911 Center, providing 911 dispatchers and first responders with an efficient, state-of-the-art system to send and receive calls.

Monroe County will also be installing new portable Mobile Data Terminals in local law enforcement vehicles, providing law enforcement with the tools they need to access vital information and communicate effectively in the field.

As part of Monroe County’s full transition to a new, state-of-the-art, interoperable public safety communications system, Monroe County will additionally be programming and distributing thousands of new trunked portable and mobile radios to local police and fire departments.

Continued Implementation of Monroe County’s Opioid Action Plan

Monroe County’s Opioid Action plan continues to be led by Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza. Under the plan, the Monroe County Department of Public Health has hosted over 100 public forums at local schools, businesses, churches, town and village halls and more. Over 2,500 emergency Narcan kits have also been distributed to the community through Monroe County’s free public Narcan Training program.

Dinolfo reminds residents that anyone can learn how to save a life by using Monroe County’s online Narcan training video at monroecounty.gov/opioids.

New for 2019, Monroe County will be supporting the launch of a new Veterans Treatment Court with the assistance of a federal grant that was pursued by the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency. The Monroe County Veterans Treatment Court will provide rehabilitation and treatment services for nonviolent drug offenders as an alternative to incarceration. With the assistance of the federal grant, Monroe County will soon hire a case manager, a nurse practitioner, and a VA benefits manager to better serve veterans who appear before the treatment court, help expand the program, and evaluate the program’s effectiveness. The Veterans Treatment Court is an expansion of the evidenced-based drug court model.

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