Archive for the "Press Release" Category

City of Poughkeepsie Files Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors

The City of Poughkeepsie has filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, accusing the defendants of waging a deceptive marketing campaign designed to intentionally mislead doctors and the public about the dangers of highly addictive drugs.

The city is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the money it spends each year to combat the public nuisance created by these practices. The lawsuit was filed in Dutchess County Supreme Court.

The city contends the defendants must be held accountable for the millions of dollars of costs related to opioid addiction and abuse, including health care, criminal justice and victimization, and lost productivity. Across the country, authorities have struggled to curb the flow of heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers that have taken their toll on people. The Centers for Disease Control says that about 142 Americans die every day from a drug overdose.

“The opioid crisis must be dealt with squarely,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “The City of Poughkeepsie refuses to sit idly by while people are suffering, and we believe these specific pharmaceutical companies and their distributors are a big part of the problem.”

The city asserts that, through their marketing ploys, the defendants have created a false perception in the minds of physicians, patients and others involved in the health care system that it is safe to use opioids to treat chronic pain. The lawsuit says this unscrupulous effort began in the late 1990s but became more aggressive around 2006 and is ongoing.

The City of Poughkeepsie has retained the New York City law firm Napoli Shkolnik PLLC as special counsel. Napoli Shkolnik has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of other municipalities. 

 “We believe this is a prudent course of action considering what is at stake,” Rolison said. “Lives are being ruined, and public resources are being stretched to address this crisis. Opioid manufacturers and distributors must be held accountable for their actions.”

Mayor Rolison pointed out individuals are empowered to help in other ways. For instance, a statewide campaign encourages residents to carry naloxone – a medication that reverses opioid overdoses – to help curb the opioid epidemic. And people are encouraged to dispose of unwanted, unneeded or expired prescription drugs at various drop-off sites in the area. Such actions ensure those drugs won’t be used in inappropriate ways and can make a significant difference over time.

To read more about the case, go to

For information about naloxone kits, call 1-877-846-7369 or visit The state also has a program that covers up to $40 in co-pay for naloxone.

For prescription drug drop-off locations, visit:

City of Poughkeepsie Joins Hudson Valley Community Power Community Choice Aggregation Program

On Tuesday, May 14th, Hudson Valley Community Power, a new Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, was launched. As of July 1, 2019, the default energy supply in the City of Poughkeepsie will be 100% renewable, sourced from New York State clean energy facilities.

Hudson Valley Community Power is a community-based bulk energy purchasing program aimed at advancing a local transition to renewable energy use, in the spirit of focused renewable energy efforts at the state level – all while lowering the electricity bills of residents and small businesses in the participating communities.

Hudson Valley Community Power allows the participating communities, which also include Beacon, Cold Spring, the Town of Fishkill, Philipstown, Marbletown, and Red Hook, to leverage the collective buying power of their homes and small businesses to negotiate energy supply rates, designate preferred generation sources, and select an Energy Services Company as the default electricity supplier. The City of Poughkeepsie will benefit from the collective buying power of its own community, as well as from joining with other municipalities to further leverage bulk buying power.

This launch is the result of a competitive procurement process, in which Joule Community (acting as Program Administrator) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for energy suppliers to bid a more competitive price relative to the default energy supplier, Central Hudson, on behalf of the participating communities. As the result of this process, Direct Energy has been selected as the new default supplier for residents and small businesses in the City of Poughkeepsie.

In participating communities, the benchmark Central Hudson rate for the 12 months of April 2018-2019 was $0.06870. The new default fixed rate is $0.06361 and provides 100% New York renewably generated electricity.

Homeowners and small businesses who do not already have an agreement with a third party electricity supplier will be automatically enrolled in the program, but may opt out at any time with no penalty. Customers who have a contract with a third-party supplier must first exit that contract before electing to opt into the Community Choice program.

Mayor Rob Rolison said, “Lowering electric rates while at the same time sourcing 100% of our energy from renewable sources, is a win for everyone who participates and a win for the environment. New collaborations with our neighboring communities is a win for the entire region.”

Councilmember Sarah Salem (D-2nd Ward), who introduced the legislation in March of 2018 said, “This is an exciting moment for the City of Poughkeepsie. This program represents a paradigm shift to a local consumer energy choice system that is ushering a swift transition toward 100% renewable energy supply for the City of Poughkeepsie and all of our partnering municipalities. A Green New Deal for the Hudson Valley.”

For questions about the new program, or to opt-out, please contact Hudson Valley Community Power at 845-859-9099 or email them at    [email protected].

City of Poughkeepsie Repeats as Conference of Mayors’ ‘Local Government Achievement Award’ Winner

For the second year in a row, the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) has selected the City of Poughkeepsie as a winner of its “Local Government Achievement Award.”

This time, the Conference of Mayors recognized the City of Poughkeepsie for its Police Retention Program. The award was presented on May 5 at NYCOM’s Annual Meeting in Cooperstown.

“We are grateful to the Conference of Mayors for this honor,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “Public safety is our number one concern, and the retention program has greatly strengthened our efforts.”

The City of Poughkeepsie developed the retention program to address the challenge of out-migration of city police officers to higher-paying positions in other municipalities, mostly downstate ones. By completing an in-depth analysis of the Police Department and working with the Police Benevolent Association, the city was able to restructure the salary, benefits and maximum officer requirements to reduce the number of officers who leave the department.

Over the last year, the city has been able to increase its ranks from 79 to 92 officers, bringing the staff to full strength. This has not only cut down on the costs of training and overtime, it has improved the quality-of-life for city residents and visitors.

In the organization’s news release, NYCOM President Gary McCarthy, mayor of the City of Schenectady, said, “The City of Poughkeepsie is to be commended for its efforts to improve the City through innovation and partnerships. Their Police Retention Program will benefit Poughkeepsie for years to come by strengthening its police force and the community’s public safety. Congratulations to Mayor Rob Rolison on this important accomplishment.”

Last year, NYCOM selected the City of Poughkeepsie as a winner for its transit consolidation for sustainability project. To save money and provide better service, the City of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County governments consolidated bus service in 2017.

“To be honored two years in a row is quite an accomplishment,” said City Administrator Marc Nelson. “It’s a testament to the city’s hard work and demonstrates we are thinking in new ways to improve government services.”

The other winners this year are: City of Corning, City of Syracuse, Village of Bergen, Village of Ellicottville and Village of Rockville Centre. NYCOM represents 573 cities and villages in New York State and has been in existence since 1910.

NYCOM’s press release on the awards can be found here:

City Sets Public Meeting Regarding Former YMCA Site

35 Montgomery Street (Former YMCA Site)

After taking ownership of the property earlier this year, the City of Poughkeepsie has set a public meeting regarding possible uses for the former Dutchess YMCA site. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday May 13 at the Family Partnership Center, 29 North Hamilton St., Poughkeepsie.

Mayor Rob Rolison will make introductory remarks. John Penney, community engagement director for the City of Poughkeepsie, will then moderate a discussion with Paul Calogerakis, Economic Development Director for the city, and Paul Hesse, Community Development Coordinator for the city. This conversation will be followed by questions from the public.

The City of Poughkeepsie is seeking development proposals for the more than 3-acre site located at 35 Montgomery Street. The building has been vacant since the YMCA closed its doors in 2009.

City officials are evaluating the condition of the property — and to establish whether the building is salvageable or must be torn down.

The city has released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the property. The RFEI is intended to solicit ideas that will yield significant community benefit, such as economic development, social and neighborhood cohesion and/or the creation of facilities serving youth and young adults. The RFEI may lead to a Request for Proposals (RFP) process that may result in an award of a preferred developer to move the project forward and to fruition.

Public-private partnerships, including with the City of Poughkeepsie, are possible.

“We look forward to hearing more from the community about their thoughts for this site,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison.

Questions from potential developers must be submitted in writing via mail, e-mail or fax by 4 p.m. Monday May 20. Proposals are due in to the City of Poughkeepsie Planning and Development Department by 3 p.m. on Monday June 3.

Details about the project can be found at

Facebook Event Page:

City Releases Request for Interest in Former YMCA Property

After recently taking ownership of the property, the City of Poughkeepsie is seeking development proposals for the former Dutchess YMCA building. The more than 3-acre site — located at 35 Montgomery Street — is situated just south of Downtown Poughkeepsie and near Routes 44/55 and 9.

The city has released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the property.  The building has been vacant since the YMCA closed its doors in 2009. The city took possession of the property at the beginning of this year. “For years, the city waited to see if private interests alone could resurrect this building, turning it into something positive for the community,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison. “We can no longer afford to wait. The site is too important to sit idle for this long. We must be pro-active, if the progress we have made on so many other fronts is to continue.”

For more than 40 years, the site was a hub of community activity, with community rooms, a fitness center, gymnasium, indoor track and a large swimming pool. Since the YMCA closed, the building’s condition has deteriorated. City officials are evaluating the property to better ascertain the extent of environmental remediation necessary — and to establish whether the building is salvageable or must be torn down.

The RFEI is intended to solicit ideas that will yield significant community benefit, such as economic development, social and neighborhood cohesion and/or the creation of facilities serving youth and young adults.  “This is the start of a visioning process for the city and the community to determine what the best and most realistic future use of the site might be,” the Mayor said. The RFEI may lead to a Request for Proposals (RFP) process that may result in an award of a preferred developer to move the project forward and to fruition. Public-private partnerships, including with the City of Poughkeepsie, are possible.

The city will set at least two public outreach meetings in order to gather ideas about the property, and the public may submit written comments as well.

Questions from potential developers must be submitted in writing via mail, e-mail or fax by 4 p.m. Monday May 20. Proposals are due in to the City of Poughkeepsie Planning and Development Department by 3 p.m. on Monday June 3.

Details about the project can be found at

John Penney Named Director of Community Engagement

John Penney Named Director of Community Engagement

Assumes a Shared Services Role with City and County

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that John Penney has been named as Director of Community Engagement for the City.  The new role is a shared services partnership between the City of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County.

As Director of Community Engagement, Mr. Penney will serve as liaison between various City departments and the local community, improving transparency and bolstering public participation in local governmental decision-making through increased community interaction.   He will participate in community meetings and other functions as well as assist in coordinating community events hosted by city government.   Additionally, he will assist in the development and publication of materials to inform residents about the various services and programs available to them.

Mayor Rolison said: “Rebuilding city government began and will continue with the stabilization of our finances, but also vital to our continued success is the need to strengthen government’s connection to our residents, our local businesses, our non-profits and our faith-based organizations. John joins the team at the perfect time as we face more choices, are presented with more options, and are rapidly recapturing our capacity to take on meaningful projects that will have long term impacts on our community.”

As a shared service partnership with Dutchess County, Mr. Penney will also serve the County part-time, focusing on various initiatives, many of which were mentioned in County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro’s recent State of the County Address, including the Path to Promise youth services plan; the Community Development Program and the redesign and reinvigoration of how homelessness services are delivered as the County seeks to bring homelessness and housing-service providers together with local government to more successfully address the complex needs of our homeless population.

County Executive Molinaro said, “In Dutchess County, we know the work we do has far greater meaning and achieves greater success when many people come to the table to be a part of the conversation.   John Penney has been at the heart of many of our most important community conversations over the years and is a natural fit for this new role. He has a unique ability to draw out new ideas and perspectives from many viewpoints with in our community.”

Mr. Penney previously served as Opinion Engagement Editor at the Poughkeepsie Journal for two decades, writing editorials often focused on local planning and development issues. He also edited and published letters to the editor from the community, attended community events and spearheaded numerous public forums. He is the recipient of dozens of editorial writing and community leadership awards from the Associated Press, the USA Today Network and other news organizations. He co-chaired the Poughkeepsie Journal’s “Greater Good Committee” organizing community-minded events and led the newspaper’s Multicultural Committee, meeting with the public to enhance Journal coverage of diversity issues.

“I am excited to begin my new role, continuing community engagement and outreach but in a whole new capacity,” Penney said. “Having covered government for more than three decades, I welcome this opportunity to work with City and County stakeholders on so many impactful issues we face today.”

Mr. Penney will begin serving on Monday, March 18th and will be based in City Hall.

Jessica O. Matthews to Speak at PKGO Getters Event

The buzz is back and bigger than ever! Join us on April 2nd, 2019, at 5:30pm at the Bardavon for the debut of PKGO Getters, when our guest speaker will be Poughkeepsie native Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of Unchartered Power. This is a free event, but pre-registration through EventBrite is requested.

The mission of PKGO is to highlight the City of Poughkeepsie as a thriving and growing city, and to create a positive sense of community amongst current and future residents, businesses and visitors.  PKGO Getters is a planned event series that will celebrate the achievements of Poughkeepsie notables who have inspiring stories to share. As a PKGO Getter herself, Matthews exemplifies the very core of this campaign.

Matthews started Uncharted Power, a full-service power infrastructure technology company when she was just 22 years old. Her focus is the intersection of disruptive technology, renewable energy, humane behavior, and the psychology of self-actualization. She was named Fortune Magazine’s “Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs” and “10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs,” Forbes “30 Under 30,” and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relation’s “Scientist of the Year.”  Former President Bill Clinton said of Matthews, “If ever there was an innovator, she’s it.”

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison said, “We are incredibly excited to bring these PKGO Getters events to the City of Poughkeepsie.  We look forward to hosting our first event April 2nd and are beyond thrilled to have Ms. Matthews as our featured speaker.  Her achievements are such an inspiration to our youth and community, and we are so very fortunate to have her join us here in Poughkeepsie.”

The press is welcome and encouraged to attend.

City Releases 2019 Youth Grant Program Application

City Releases 2019 Youth Grant Program Application

The City has released its 2019 Youth Grant Program Application and Youth Grant Policy and Guidelines to all eligible applicants. The application is available on the City’s website and is also available in the Office of Social Development.

The “Youth Activities & Opportunities Program”, which was introduced as part of the City’s 2018 budget, has helped local organizations by providing funding to support clubs and leagues as well as summer and educational programs. These programs have allowed Poughkeepsie youth to participate in community-based programs that emphasize active lifestyles, provide creative outlets, and build long-lasting relationships.

All applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Social Development with any questions and to discuss program eligibility. Applications must be submitted by February 28, 2019 either via email or to the following address:

[email protected]

 City of Poughkeepsie
Office of Social Development
62 Civic Center Plaza
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

City Prepares for Snow Storms

In preparation for the series of snow storms forecasted to begin early on Friday, January 18th and continuing through Sunday, January 20th, the City asks that all residents take note of the following:

  • We encourage residents to find alternative off-street parking or to park their vehicles in public parking lots. All City-owned parking lots will be open for free public parking through Monday, January 21st. In the case of a declared Snow Emergency, street parking on designated Snow Emergency Routes is prohibited. Please see the Snow Emergency Route Map below for additional information.
  • A Warming Center will be open at the Public Safety Building (505 Main Street) on Monday, January 21st and Tuesday, January 22nd from 8am to 5pm. Individuals who need a warm place during the day are encouraged to utilize the center.
  • Sanitation & recycling collection will occur on Friday, January 18th for all Friday collection routes. Collection is suspended on Monday, January 21st due to the holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day).
  • Residents are asked to wait until the roads have been cleared by City plows before beginning to clear snow from driveways & sidewalks.
  • Fire hydrants must remain clear and accessible in case of emergency. Please see attached Safety Message regarding clearing snow from Fire Hydrants near your property (see below).

Snow Emergency Route Map

Attached is the City’s Snow Emergency Route Map (see below). In the event of a Snow Emergency declaration, all residents are advised to check the map to inquire if your street is part of the Emergency Route. Each one of the seven snow fighting sections has a pre-established priority listing of streets to salt and plow. Priorities are established by the following street designations:

  • Snow Emergency Routes (heavily traveled/hospital access roads)
  • Arterials (Routes 44 and 55)
  • Steep graded hills and sharp curves
  • Residential streets
  • Cul-de-Sacs and dead-ends
  • Service Drives

Snow Information

For updates and announcements, please visit local media outlets and the City website:

City Receives $50,000 Grant for Street Tree Inventory & Management Plan

Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has awarded the City of Poughkeepsie $50,000 through the Urban and Community Forestry Project for a comprehensive street tree inventory and management plan.  The endeavor will prove integral to the City’s comprehensive tree care program, and will help Poughkeepsie better understand its urban forest’s composition, structure, and tree maintenance needs; plan for short-term and long-term resource allocation; develop risk management strategies; and enable the city to promote the economic, environmental, and social benefits its trees provide to our community.

City Administrator Marc Nelson said, “If the value of all our city trees were included in our balance sheet, the City wouldn’t have a deficit. We’ve seen the results of not having a management plan for our trees, now we can look forward to seeing what a difference it makes when you have one. Thanks to this DEC grant, we’ll be able to become more strategic and forward-thinking when it comes to the work we do on city trees.”

Shade Tree Commission Chairwoman Virginia Hancock said, “We are grateful for the DEC’s help. After some years of decline, our return to proper care and maintenance of our city trees requires we take a new inventory and devise a new management plan. This important work will allow us to maximize the return on our investment in our trees for years to come.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received a total of 115 applications which were evaluated and awarded on a competitive basis. The program aims to encourage municipalities, grassroots organizations and volunteers to work in partnership to further improve New York’s urban forests for generations to come. The inventory will take place on a city-wide basis and is expected to begin in Spring 2019.