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City Receives $1 Million in Fire Apparatus Funding from Assemblyman Skartados

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that the City of Poughkeepsie will receive $1 million in grant monies from State Assemblyman Frank Skartados, which will be utilized in funding the replacement of City Fire apparatus.


(left to right) Fire Chief Mark Johnson, State Assemblyman Frank Skartados, Mayor Rob Rolison

The first piece of the equipment to be replaced will be Engine 2, which is located at the Public Safety Building at 505 Main Street.

“This much needed financial assistance by Assemblyman Skartatos will allow us to replace a 20 year old piece of Fire equipment. In 2015, Engine 2 responded to 1,988 calls and already 1,594 calls as of today in 2016,” stated Fire Chief Mark Johnson. “Engine 2 is also our FAST engine. FAST is an acronym for Firefighter- Assist- Search Team. This Engine is used to perform those duties at Mutual Aid calls for our neighboring towns during structure fires.”

The engine also serves as the City’s Rescue Engine meaning it carries ‘Jaws of Life’ for automobile accidents as well technical rescue equipment, stated Chief Johnson.

“The support that our City has received from Assemblyman Skartados on critical parts of our public safety response has been instrumental in assuring the protection of our residents,” stated Mayor Rob Rolison.

“Public safety is the first priority of government. These are major capital costs affecting public safety that our City cannot afford at this time. However, with this this aid and continued support from Assemblyman Skartados we can address the public safety demands and challenges that this City must respond to,” stated Rolison.

City of Poughkeepsie Closes Budget Gap from $6 to $4 Million

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that the City has reduced the potential $6 million budget gap for 2017 to approximately $4 million.

The $4 million projected budget gap in 2017, which is still being worked on by the administration is a fluid number, according to Mayor Rolison.

“Prior year’s budgets simply overstated anticipated revenues, causing accumulated deficits which we must begin to address in the current budget cycle”, said Mayor Robert G. Rolison. “The use of one-time revenues, or revenue estimates that do not materialize at all, has been a primary driver of our fiscal troubles.”

Some of the principal contributors to the remaining gap include:

  • $1.5 million in one-time revenue related to the expansion project at Vassar Brother’s Medical Center, which is not a recurring revenue in 2017
  • $250,000 in increased pension costs
  • $500,000 for the sale of City property which did not occur in 2016
  • More than $400,000 in unrealized parking revenues
  • An anticipated $1 million in increased health insurance costs

Rolison has asked all city department heads to deliver to the administration additional recommended cuts of up to 6% of their general fund operating expenses.

Mayor Rolison Appoints City Administrator

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today the appointment of Deborah McDonnell as the City Administrator for the City of Poughkeepsie.

After an extensive national search that included 35 applicants who had applied for the Administrator’s position, the Mayor’s transition team, which Rolison was a part of, recommended Deborah McDonnell. Ms. McDonnell has been the City Administrator in Fairborn, Ohio for the past 10 years and prior to that, was the Director of Community Development for the Village of Saranac Lake, New York for 10 years.

Ms. McDonnell will be Poughkeepsie’s first female City Administrator. Continue reading Mayor Rolison Appoints City Administrator

Flag Controversy in the Town of Poughkeepsie

Statement from Mayor Rob Rolison regarding the Flag Controversy in the Town of Poughkeepsie:

“We have received numerous phone calls and emails regarding this issue, which is outside the jurisdiction of the City of Poughkeepsie. While I understand all concerns, this action was made by the Arlington Fire District in the Town of Poughkeepsie, a separate municipality from our City. As the Mayor of the City of Poughkeepsie, I can confirm that we are proudly displaying the American flag on our fire apparatus. The Arlington Fire Department can be reached at (845) 486-6300”

Hours of Operation Resume at City Pools

Beginning on Thursday, August 18th, the hours of operation at Spratt Park Pool and Pulaski Park Pool will return to the regular schedule, closing each evening at 7:00 pm.


Garden Street Mural Dedication – August 18, 2016


Hours of Operation Extended at City Pools


20160813_111505Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison declares that City pools will extend hours to provide residents relief from the current heat and humidity conditions.

City pools normally close at 7:00 pm, but starting tonight (Saturday, August 13th) the operating hours at Spratt Pool will be extended to 8:00 pm (Pulaski Pool will close at its normal time, 7:00 pm).

On Sunday, August 14th, both pools will remain open until 8:00 pm. The pools will continue to operate on this extended schedule during the current heat wave. City Staff will monitor the weather outlook and work with the pool staff to facilitate these hours.

The Mayor extends his thanks to the operators of the pools, Kimberly and Thomas Bell, for their dedication to providing this invaluable resource to the residents of our community. They have committed to ensuring that staff is in place in order to facilitate this task. The pools are one of those assets we take for granted until we have a heat wave such as we are currently in.

Poughkeepsie to Hire Member of Hartford, CT Finance Team

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that after in depth consideration and a national search by the Fiscal Advisory Team, the City will be hiring Marc Nelson for the position of Finance Commissioner.

At a special meeting held last night, a majority of the Common Council supported the resolution to adjust the salary for Finance Commissioner.

Marc Nelson previously served as tax collector in the City of Hartford, Connecticut. Nelson, who has held a variety of fiscal positions for Hartford since 2008, will assume the responsibilities of Finance Commissioner for the City of Poughkeepsie starting in early September.

The City’s Fiscal Advisory Team, which was headed by former Dutchess County Budget Director Valerie Sommerville, had interviewed numerous candidates for this position. In her letter to the acting City Administrator Ronald Knapp, she wrote:

“Mr. Nelson clearly understands the fiscal challenges the city faces having dealt with similar issues at the City of Hartford.  His unique experience working in a diverse urban environment as well as his strong background in finance, tax, budgeting, collective bargaining and labor relations make him the ideal candidate for this position.”
William Brady, the City’s interim Finance Commissioner, also finds Nelson to be highly qualified.

“Marc’s resume is most impressive. He has also served Hartford on the Committee on Restructuring City Government and holds additional experience which includes deficit management.” stated Brady. “Marc is both engaging and enthusiastic.  I am confident that his personality and his experience will make him an asset to Poughkeepsie’s management team.”

“In my work with Poughkeepsie’s Fiscal Advisory Team, we’ve found a serious need for increased and additional revenue sources,” stated Council Member Mike Young. “Mr. Nelson was instrumental in improving Hartford’s revenue stream and I’m optimistic he can make real improvements here using that experience. I look forward to working with him as we enter a tough budget season for 2017.”

“The Finance position is critical to the future of our City,” stated Ronald Knapp, Acting City Administrator. “I am delighted that a candidate with the background and qualities of Marc Nelson was recommended by the Fiscal Advisory Team.

Mayor Rob Rolison stated, “At no time in the City’s recent history has the position of Finance Commissioner been so critical to Poughkeepsie’s future. Marc Nelson’s background in municipal finance and his work in the City of Hartford is exactly what our City needs at this time. I want to thank the members of the Common Council who voted in favor of the resolution last night and look forward to having Marc as a part of our team as we work with the Common Council and other stakeholders to help move this City towards fiscal stability.”

Tough Road Ahead for City Finances

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison today announced that the city has been able to stabilize its spending, but unrealistic revenue projections of the past are still taking their toll.

Rolison and city officials have recently begun taking a look at revenue and spending as part of the 2017 budget process.

“Unrealistic revenue projections from past budgets are our problem.  For too long the city has relied on budget revenues that have exceeded reality,” Rolison said.

One example he referred to was from 2015 when expenses exceeded revenues by more than $1.5 million.  Revenue projections that same year fell short by nearly $4 million, more than $1 million less then they were in the previous year 2014.

This trend doesn’t end there as the 2016 budget, inherited by the first-term Mayor, is trending the same way.  2016 revenue projections are looking to come in approximately $2.2 million under budget with the expectation of a deficit of $1.5 million for the current fiscal year.

“I was elected to right this fiscal ship and that’s exactly what we need to start doing with the 2017 budget.  However, turning a ship around can’t be done with a quick and easy solution, we will need to make tough budget decisions,” Rolison said.

Continue reading Tough Road Ahead for City Finances

City Receives Additional $1 Million for Water Upgrades

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that the City will receive an additional $1 million in grant monies from the New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, increasing the total funding amount to $3 million.

These monies will fund the construction of (2) 2.5 million gallon storage tanks at College Hill Park adjacent to the existing reservoirs. This project will provide greater tank reliability for the City of Poughkeepsie while simultaneously improving water quality and fire flow.

The project will also include water distribution system improvements, such as replacing the existing, aging and undersized water main with new a Cement Lined Ductile Iron water main. Other sections of the water main are proposed to be replaced due to increased frequency of leaks causing interruptions in service and reduced water quality.

“Under Governor Cuomo, New York State leads the nation with the largest annual investment in water-quality infrastructure,” said Sabrina M. Ty, President and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, “As New York State moves aggressively to modernize our statewide infrastructure, this $3 million grant, coupled with EFC’s zero-interest financing, will enable the City of Poughkeepsie to continue to provide reliable access to safe drinking water.”