City Receives $2.4 Million for Pedestrian Safety

City Receives $2.4 Million for Pedestrian Safety

Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that New York State has awarded the city $2,430,000 as part of the state’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) grant program.  The statewide initiative calls for a systemic approach to address pedestrian safety issues and provides funding to local governments to implement low-cost, high-impact improvements at known hazardous locations.  Poughkeepsie is one of 20 localities in the state, outside of New York City, that has been designated a “focus community,” indicating a high number of pedestrian-involved crashes.

The city will use the PSAP funding along corridors, intersections and uncontrolled crosswalks where the highest pedestrian traffic exists and where past accidents have occurred, including sites along Main, Mansion, Market, Academy/Catharine, Hamilton and Clinton Streets.  Interventions will include upgrading high-visibility crosswalks and signage, installing countdown pedestrian timers, and in some locations introducing curbed pedestrian refuges at crosswalks.

Mayor Rolison said, “Poughkeepsie is a walking city.  On any given day, thousands of people are walking around this city, whether it’s to go to school or work, or whether it’s to shop or get a bite to eat.  Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our citizens.  It’s time we show that pedestrians are a priority and that Poughkeepsie’s streets are more than just a place for cars.  This funding from the state will help us do just that, and I would like to thank our partners at the state for continuing to invest in the City of Poughkeepsie.”

Police Chief Tom Pape said, “The men and women who serve as first responders know firsthand the potentially dangerous conditions that pedestrians face daily in some areas of the city.  Poughkeepsie has a high number of pedestrian-related crashes, but even one crash is too many. Providing a safe environment for walking, while educating drivers to be extra cautious on Poughkeepsie’s busy streets, will help reduce conflicts between motorists and pedestrians.”

Commissioner of Public Works Chris Gent said, “DPW staff work hard to keep pavement markings and crosswalk signals visible and in good working condition.  But with more than 70 miles of road and hundreds of intersections, that kind of maintenance is costly.  This state funding will allow us to target the highest need areas of the city and help improve the quality of life for residents.”

Interim Economic Development Director Paul Calogerakis said, “Part of Poughkeepsie’s economic revival will undoubtedly revolve around embracing the concept of a walkable city.  Successful cities that invest in high-quality public spaces increase their economic competitiveness and attract further private sector investment.  Poughkeepsie has all the attributes that make a high-quality place, including a dense urban landscape with a variety of experiences for a diversity of users.  Anything we can do to make its streets safer for non-motorists will pay dividends in the long run by making it easier for people to enjoy everything that is great about Poughkeepsie.”

Senior City Planner Natalie Quinn said, “Poughkeepsie has a high percentage of residents who either by choice or by economic circumstance do not own a car and are therefore dependent on transportation alternatives to get to their destination, which at one end or the other usually includes crossing a street.  Poughkeepsie is joining many other cities across the country by beginning to look at its streets through a complete-streets lens.  That means giving equal consideration to all users of the street, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with limited mobility.  By enabling these improvements, the PSAP funding will go a long way toward ensuring equity among the users of our streets.”

Mayor Rolison Vetoes Legislation to Establish Common Council Staff


June 5th, 2018


TO:  Deanne L. Flynn, City Chamberlain
FROM:  Mayor Robert G. Rolison
SUBJECT: Veto Concerning Local Law No. 3 of 2018 “A Local Law Providing for Professional Staff to the Common Council”

Pursuant to the authority vested in me by Article III, Section 3.02 of the Charter and 3.04 of the Administrative Code of the City of Poughkeepsie, I hereby veto Local Law 3 of 2018 which was adopted by the Common Council at its regular meeting of May 21, 2018. This veto is cast within thirty days, pursuant to Section 3.02 (f) of the City Charter.

As this Local Law acknowledges, our City Charter was amended in 1996, and updated again recently, in 2016. Charter revision is typically undertaken by a Charter Review Commission, comprised of subject matter experts and local stakeholders whose duty it is to recommend to voters the modernization of what is, essentially, the City’s Constitution. There is a reason that significant changes to the balance of power between branches of government, in this case between the Executive and the Legislative, require the consent of the governed in the form of a referendum. That sole purpose is to ensure that the fabric of our democracy – how we are governed, the delicate balance and inter-relationship of the separate branches of government – cannot be changed by five members of the City’s Common Council on a whim. Just consider the ramifications were it otherwise. Any five votes of the Common Council could alter anything – and two weeks or two months later, five different votes could change it back again. That is most certainly not efficient government, by any means.

The drafters of this Local Law suggest that the Charter Review Commission believed that members of the Common Council should have their own legislative aides and that the newly created position of Council Member At-Large should have the power to hire and fire City employees to serve “at the pleasure” of the Council Chair. For support, the majority references a letter from the organization retained by the City to assist it with Charter revision which says in part:

This subject was considered by the most recent Poughkeepsie Charter Commission specifically with regard to the possible need of legal advice for the city council independent of that available from the city’s Corporation Counsel. As I recall, this discussion resulted in a recommendation that funds be budgeted annually to pay for independent legal advice to the Council, if needed” (emphasis added).

What the Charter actually says, in its preamble no less, is:

The revised Charter clarifies that the City Chamberlain and Corporation Counsel serve the Common Council, as well as the Mayor, thus ensuring that the legislative branch has sufficient clerical and legal support in the exercise of its power and authority” (emphasis added).

Clearly the Commission considered the issue of staff support for the Council, but decided to recommend to voters only that funding be provided to account for possible conflicts which might conceivably arise requiring the appointment of outside legal Counsel. The Charter was overwhelmingly approved by voters.

The crafters of this Local Law would have us believe that Council staff is necessary to the performance of their duties “under the City Charter amendments”, but their argument presupposes that the new Charter gave them new duties and responsibilities, which is simply not the case. The suggestion that, because the new Charter added a ninth Councilmember in the form of a Council member at-large, now staff is necessary – well, that simply seems counterintuitive. Are we asked to believe that the Commission, comprised of nine professional volunteers with many years of collective local experience and much love for our City, just forgot to provide the Council with the power to hire and fire employees who report solely to them and operate outside the regular lines of authority that exist in our local government?

Not only is the Local Law at odds with the clear language of the Charter and the expressed will of the voters, the New York Courts have held that any Local Law which “abolishes, transfers or curtails any power of an elective officer” is subject to mandatory referendum (Matter of Yevchak v Raymond, A.D. 2nd 197, 1978).

Finally, Section 2.10 (a) of the City’s Administrative Code requires that a Fiscal Impact Statement be prepared prior to the adoption of any action which could cost present or future taxpayers more than $50,000. The Local Law I am vetoing today does not specify how many staff will be hired by the Council, whether they will be full-time or part-time, how much these employees will be paid, or even whether they would receive benefits, including very expensive health-care and pension benefits. By not including these critical pieces of information, the majority attempts to avoid the requirement that a Fiscal Impact Statement be prepared – ‘let’s budget for the specifics later’, they say.

That’s not good government and it’s certainly not fiscally responsible.


Hon. Robert G. Rolison

The GlassBarge is Coming to Poughkeepsie – Waryas Park Dock Closed June 5th to June 11th

Please be advised that beginning Tuesday, June 5th thru Monday, June 11th, the dock at Victor C. Waryas Park will be closed for normal docking activities in order to accommodate the Corning Museum of Glass—GlassBarge.

The GlassBarge will provide free glassblowing demonstrations Friday, June 8th to Sunday, June 10th.  We encourage you to attend and register online for times available.

City of Poughkeepsie Receives NYCOM Local Government Achievement Award

The New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) selected the City of Poughkeepsie as a first place winner of NYCOM’s Local Government Achievement Awards. The awards program, in its 31st year, recognized Poughkeepsie for its Transit Consolidation for Sustainability project.

Mayor Rolison said “I’d like to thank the selection committee and leadership at NYCOM. The City’s transit consolidation with the County has improved transit service for our residents, while at the same time saving our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year”

Press Release: City of Poughkeepsie Receives NYCOM Local Government Achievement Award (.pdf)

Mayor Rolison Issues Statement on Passing of Michael G. Gartland

For more than forty years Michael G. Gartland strengthened our community. His life was dedicated to the law, to equity, and to justice. He enriched the lives of everyone who knew him, and many more who didn’t. He served as Vice Chairman of the City’s Planning Board, and his volunteerism would lead him to service on the Boards of Directors of some of the most prestigious organizations in the area including the James J. McCann Charitable Trust, the McCann Foundation, the Charlotte Cunneen-Hackett Charitable Trust, and Marist College. His advocacy and stewardship helped spur important civic projects at the Bardavon, the McCann Memorial Golf Course, Our Lady of Lourdes High School, and Marist College and the impact of his life’s work will be felt here for many years.

Mayor Rolison Issues Statement on Passing of Assemblyman Frank Skartados

The City of Poughkeepsie has lost a true champion of our community and a tireless advocate for common-sense and important legislation designed to improve our quality of life. Frank lived his life asking every day what he could do to help others.  He represented the best of New York politics because he brought people of different views together to solve real problems. His impact on our City will be seen and felt for many years and we will miss him tremendously

Frank Skartados’ death is deep loss for community: EditorialPoughkeepsie Journal

Opening Day Parade: City of Poughkeepsie Youth Baseball/Softball League

When:  Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 9:00am
Parade Route:  Krieger Elementary School (S. Grand Ave) to Spratt Park Ball Fields (Wilbur Blvd)

The City of Poughkeepsie will celebrate the start of the 2018 Youth Baseball/Softball season with a parade on Saturday, April 14 at Krieger Elementary School on S. Grand Avenue.  The parade will step-off at 9:00am and will go to Spratt Park for the opening day ceremony.  “I love the excitement that opening day brings to the city each year,” said Mayor Rob Rolison.

This year there are 20 teams organized for the City of Poughkeepsie Baseball/Softball League with a total of 216 participants.  The season runs from April 14 through June 30 and all games are played at the Spratt Park Ball Fields. Currently there are 16 volunteers; however, more are needed.  To volunteer please contact Satara Brown at [email protected]

Statement from Mayor Robert Rolison Regarding the Unexpected Closing of Ridley Lowell Business & Technical Institute

City of Poughkeepsie
New York


April 5, 2018

For Immediate Release: (TODAY)
City of Poughkeepsie Mayor
Robert G. Rolison
[email protected]


Statement from Mayor Robert Rolison Regarding the Unexpected Closing of Ridley Lowell Business & Technical Institute


POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The city has learned today that the Ridley Lowell Business & Technical Institute, a technical and proprietary school located in the City of Poughkeepsie which had been operating since 1998, abruptly shut its doors as of April 4, 2018.

“The sudden closure of Ridley Lowell—apparently without notice to its students, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders—is very unfortunate,” said Mayor Rob Rolison.

“The City of Poughkeepsie has begun conversations within our community in an effort to provide help and assistance to affected students at this time. We have had discussions with the NYS Department of Education Bureau of Proprietary Services. They have advised us to have students fill out the Complaint form available at City Hall in the City Chamberlain’s Office and online at Any completed forms dropped off at City Hall will be submitted to the NYS Department of Education.”

For more information, contact:

Mayor’s Office: (845) 451-4073
Kathy Vacca: [email protected]



Spring Free Transit Pass – Dutchess County Public Transit

City of Poughkeepsie Seniors & Persons with Disabilities Can Apply Now
to Ride Free On Dutchess County Public Transit in April And May

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison, announced in his State of the City message that Dutchess County Public Transit will offer special opportunities for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities, who have proof of residence in the City of Poughkeepsie, to take advantage of the newly enhanced Dutchess County Public Transit bus routes.

Marcus Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive, said Dutchess County’s Public Transit’s expanded route system is for everybody. “With the City of Poughkeepsie integrated into the County system and many of our routes enhanced based on user feedback, bus service is more sustainable and more efficient for both residents and visitors.”

Mayor Rolison added: “The revised transit services will have at least one bus route serve the front door of each major senior and/or public housing complex. With front door access to shopping, medical centers, pharmacies, social services, education, recreation and quality-of-life activities for City of Poughkeepsie residents, this is a golden opportunity to explore not only the City of Poughkeepsie, but beautiful Dutchess County, in the spring.”

Spring Free Transit Pass for Qualified Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

Beginning March 24th, free Dutchess County Public Transit passes will be available for City of Poughkeepsie Seniors presenting proof of age 60 years and older and Persons with Disabilities who have an ADA, Special Transit ID, or Medicare card for a period of two months (April and May 2018) through the use of 31-Day passes (two can be applied for at the same time). The pass can be used to travel anywhere on the Dutchess County Public Transit system, excluding Dial-a-Ride services.

Free Transit Pass Opportunity Funded by New York State

Mayor Rolison stated that funding for the Spring Free Transit Pass was provided by New York State. He said, “The City of Poughkeepsie thanks the N.Y.S. Governor’s Division of the Budget Office and the N.Y.S. Financial Restructuring Board for funding the City/County transit consolidation. We also thank the Federal Transit Administration team at Region II, the N.Y.S. Department of Transportation, and the many stakeholders who worked tirelessly to assure a long-term, efficient and sustainable public bus system for our City.” County Executive Molinaro congratulated Dutchess County Public Transit and noted, “The route revisions are already resulting in increased ridership around Dutchess County. We hope that when people realize how easy it is to use these routes to where they need to go, it will increase even more.”

Information Sessions:

Staff from Dutchess County Public Transit will be available at the following locations to answer questions about the program and to offer assistance in applying for the pass:

  • St. Simeon – Tuesday, April 3rd, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Maplewood – Wednesday, April 4th, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
  • Interfaith Towers – Friday, April 6th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Phillip Allen Schwartz Residence– Friday, April 6th, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where to Apply for a Free Transit Pass

Application forms will be available at:
Poughkeepsie City Chamberlain’s Office
First Floor of City Hall
62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Hours: 8:30AM – 4:30PM

Bus Routes A, B, C, D, E, H, J, K, L, M and P serve this facility.

Dutchess County Public Transit Offices
14 Commerce Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Open Monday through Friday: 8:00AM – 5:00PM

Bus Route E services this facility.

Public Transit Information Line: (845) 473-8424

Applications will also be available at the following locations:
St. Simeon, 700 Second Mile Drive Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
134 Cannon Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Maplewood 457 Maple Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Interfaith Towers 66 Washington Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Phillip Allen Schwartz Residence 378 Mansion Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Poughkeepsie Transit Hub 11-13 Market Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

2018 State of the City Address

2018 State of the City Address

As Delivered by Mayor Rob Rolison
Tuesday, March 20th at the Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center

Continue reading 2018 State of the City Address