Archive for the "Press Release" Category

Statement from Mayor Rob Rolison on School District’s Capital Improvement Project

Those familiar with the Poughkeepsie City School District recognize there are compelling needs to make major renovations to our aging schools — to ensure our children have a 21st century learning environment.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Jay Rosser has put forth such plans. He is offering voters options and, significantly, these initiatives come with highly favorable state reimbursement rates. As co-chair of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, I urge voters to consider these plans carefully and to support the district’s Capital Improvement Project. The vote takes place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20.

Under one scenario, Proposition 1, voters could approve $48,250,000 for major infrastructure, safety and security improvements. New security entrances, roof restorations or replacements, lavatory renovations and other upgrades would be a part of this project. Each school building would see improvements. 91.2 percent of aidable portions of this project will be reimbursed by the state, an extremely high statewide reimbursement rate for school capital improvement projects. The total percent of the project that qualifies for New York State aid is 95 percent.  

Under another scenario, Proposition 2, voters could approve $98,791,306 in spending, which would include all of the major infrastructure, safety and security improvements of Proposition 1 and also major renovations throughout all schools. The additional major renovations will have a significant impact on the district’s ability to enhance and align the instructional program to emerging industry and occupational fields in the Hudson Valley.

This proposition, which requires a supermajority vote has the same highly favorable state reimbursement rate of 91.2 percent. 70 percent of the project qualifies for such aid.

Earlier this year, Dr. Rosser and I created the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet designed to shepherd a shared vision and cradle-to-career path for child development in the city. I have worked closely with Dr. Rosser since his arrival to the school district last year and know he has both the best interests of the school and community at large in mind.  I urge people to learn more about the capital plan, including polling locations, at the district’s webpage, https://www.poughkeepsieschools.org/, and come forward to back the district in this endeavor.

Mayor Rob Rolison Appointed to NYCOM Executive Committee

Mayor Rob Rolison of the City of Poughkeepsie has been appointed to serve on the sixteen-member Executive Committee of the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM). Mayor Richard David of the City of Binghamton, President of the Conference of Mayors, made the selection.

In announcing the appointment, Mayor David stated, “Mayor Rolison is a proven municipal leader, with a wide range of experience and success at the city, county and town levels of government. His results-oriented approach to leadership, as well as his expertise in public safety, will be strong assets to NYCOM as we represent our city and village members.”

“NYCOM plays a very important role as the legislative advocate for cities and villages, and provides extensive professional training for elected and appointed officials. The organization works diligently on our behalf and conscientiously seeks input from its members about the most pressing issues we face. I am honored to be appointed to this position of leadership within NYCOM,” said Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison.

Rolison has been Mayor of Poughkeepsie since January 1, 2016. Prior to being elected Mayor, he served in the Dutchess County Legislature from 2003-2015, including six years as Chairman. Rolison’s long career in public safety began at the age of 18 as an active volunteer firefighter. He worked part time for the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Hyde Park Police Department while pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice at Marist College. In 1982, he joined the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department where he served 12 years in the Patrol Division, eventually working his way up the ranks to Detective, a post he held for 14 years. He was elected PBA President for two-consecutive 5-year terms before retiring in February 2008.

Rolison has also served in a wide variety of voluntary capacities including on the Board of Directors of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation and St. Simeon’s (which operates affordable senior apartments in Poughkeepsie); Chairman of the Hudson Valley Regional Council; State Advisory Board member of the Office of Children and Family Services; and member of the Cider Mill Friends, the Board of Trustees of Dutchess Community College, the Salvation Army Advisory
Board, Catharine Street Community Center’s Board of Directors, the American Red Cross Dutchess County Chapter Board of Directors, and the Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

Mayor Rolison Says Projected 2021 Budget Must Close Big Gap

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that his 2021 proposed budget, to be delivered to the Common Council by October 15, must close a projected $3.1 million gap. City officials cite pressures on all funds, as well as declines in sales tax revenue, and a likely reduction in State Aid to Municipalities, as the chief drivers behind the projected shortfall.

“We cannot with confidence predict the future decisions of our State and Federal partners. Without a fund balance to draw from in times of need, we face difficult choices in the days and weeks ahead. In the absence of direct federal stimulus to American cities and states, we will continue to make what cuts we can to our spending plan, while at the same time asking the Common Council to authorize overriding the New York State tax cap in the event we need to do that,” said Mayor Rolison.

City officials cite the need to begin the override process as precautionary. The New York State tax cap requires real estate tax increases more than approximately 2 percent annually to win the support of a supermajority of the legislative branch. City Administrator Marc Nelson said, “Our goal is to remain under the cap, and we have accomplished that the last three consecutive years. Uncertainty about the likely choices of other levels of government, upon which we greatly rely, make it prudent to bring the matter to the Council as soon as possible.”

The Common Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 21.

Statement by City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison Regarding the Importance of 2020 Census

The U.S. Census count continues until the end of this month — and it is imperative all City of Poughkeepsie households participate before the count is closed. Over the next decade, the city could lose out millions of dollars if we are undercounted. Here’s why: The distribution of federal funds is largely determined by population. Those funds go to more than 130 programs, from housing and highways, as well as to nutrition to education needs. Census data is also used to determine the number of seats in Congress each state receives, and congressional and legislative lines will be redrawn based on these numbers.

Every 10 years, as required by the Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau undertakes this count. I strenuously disagree with the decision by the U.S. Census to end the count on Sept. 30. The COVID-19 crisis has made the count more difficult, especially for the census workers going door to door to obtain responses that did not come from households through an online form or by phone or mail. The good news is people can fill out the form online at https://my2020census.gov/or call (844) 330-2020 for assistance in English or (844) 468-2020 for help in Spanish.

Please keep in mind that sections of the City of Poughkeepsie are considered “hard to count” — that is, people in those areas are less likely to fill out the form. We need to work together and spread the word to neighbors and friends about the importance of this count.

The information collected by the Census Bureau is confidential and protected under law. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both. Please help spread the word — our community cannot afford to be shortchanged. The City has a webpage, www.cityofpoughkeepsie.com/census2020 where you can learn more about the 2020 census.

City’s Procedural Justice Committee Will Review Governor’s Executive Order on Policing

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison today announced that the city’s Procedural Justice Committee — which includes police officers, other city officials and members of the public – will be reviewing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order pertaining to policing and enhanced training and policies and will make recommendations for the Mayor and Common Council to consider and act upon.

In mid-June, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 203 — the “New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative” — requiring local police agencies to develop a plan and address policies, procedures, practices and deployment, including but not limited to the use of force.

Continue reading City’s Procedural Justice Committee Will Review Governor’s Executive Order on Policing

Statement by City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rolison on Peaceful Protests in the City

During this week, the City of Poughkeepsie has witnessed several protests relating to the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I want to convey how proud I am of the community for coming together in peaceful demonstrations to express their frustrations and to push unrelentingly for racial equality. I also want to thank the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department for their professionalism in handling these demonstrations and to our law enforcement partners from the state and Dutchess and Ulster counties that provided us with support.

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison at Tuesday’s “We Can’t Breathe” protest.

 Across this country, we have watched protests that have taken counter-productive, dangerous turns. The events in the City of Poughkeepsie — which have included a candlelight vigil and marches — have shown the country how people can gather to express themselves passionately, to demand justice, and to ensure their voices are heard. And they can do all that without violence and without causing damage to the community at large. I will be forever thankful for those, including the organizers of these events and community leaders, for insisting on a nonviolent approach. The city is committed to doing its part as the country tries to heal and find a way forward. We are committed to keeping the lines of dialogue open and to providing a safe environment for people to continue to voice their views and to work for the betterment of our city.”

Statement from City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison on the Death of George Floyd

I am outraged and sickened by the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, who was left begging for his life while being held to the ground by police kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis.

As a retired police officer and as the father of a police officer, I am appalled by the actions and believe justice must be served. Our police officers take an oath to uphold the law, and these gross violations break the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the public – bonds that are essential to all communities. Here in the City of Poughkeepsie, our police officers are committed to strengthening community relationships and endeavor in those efforts every day.

Throughout the country, we are witnessing protests, and I stand with those who tirelessly work for racial equality. In Poughkeepsie, we have shown time and time again we can all work together for the greater good.

These are trying times, but I have so much faith in our community. We will work for and insist on justice, and everyone’s voice will be heard and respected.

Mayor Rolison to be Featured Speaker at Chamber’s ‘Virtual Contact Breakfast’

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison will provide updates to the business community and take questions during the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s hour-long “Virtual Contact Breakfast” at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20.

The Mayor and his team have been responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19), ensuring that first responders and other essential employees are able to complete their tasks while realigning the work of other employees in a changing environment.

The Mayor recognizes the coronavirus is bringing financial challenges to the City and is working with department heads to make adjustments to the City budget.

“We have done everything we can to stay ahead of the crisis, and I thank our employees and the city as a whole for working together during this difficult time,” he said.

The City Administration has worked closely with Dutchess County and state officials to react and respond to the crisis – and to ensure the public is receiving a cohesive message about what steps the various levels of government are taking to address the crisis and to begin reopening. The City has created a comprehensive online guide, which also is published weekly in the city’s “The Buzz” newsletter, that provides updates and offers key web links to a range of important information, from health and safety to food and other types of assistance. The website is www.cityofpoughkeepsie.com/coronavirus.

The Mayor also acknowledged the hardship the pandemic has caused to the business community and local nonprofit organizations. He encourages business and nonprofits to stay informed through The Dutchess Business Notification Network (DBNN), which includes the local Chamber of Commerce and is providing updates and highlighting the assistance available through state and federal agencies. The DBNN’s website is www.dutchessbnn.com.

“The Chamber has been providing webinars and other resources to the business community since the pandemic began, and we pride ourselves on offering our members and guests the opportunity to connect with our elected officials,” said Frank Castella Jr., president and CEO of Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This event with Mayor Rob Rolison will give us important updates from the City of Poughkeepsie as we continued to prepare to reopen the business community.”

Mayor Rolison said he looks forward to seeing the City and Dutchess County reopen, and the City has continued to work on a number of key initiatives, including updating its Comprehensive Plan, something that hasn’t been undertaken in more than two decades.

He also has collaborated with Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser to form a “Children’s Cabinet” aimed at creating a shared vision and cradle-to-career agenda for child and youth development in the city. During the Virtual Contact Breakfast, Mayor Rolison is expected to explain why he believes this initiative is so important to the whole community, including business leaders.

Members of the business community are invited to this complimentary event on Zoom – you do not need to be a member of the Chamber to participate. Registration is required and can be done through the Chamber’s website at www.dcrcoc.org. It will also be streamed live on the Chamber’s and City’s Facebook pages.

City of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County Teaming Up To Provide Transportation to COVID-19 Testing Site

The City of Poughkeepsie, in partnership with Dutchess County and Midhudson Regional Hospital, is launching an initiative to provide transit service to and from a COVID-19 testing site for city residents who want a test but who lack transportation to get there.

MidHudson Regional Hospital has been operating a drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site just outside the city’s borders in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The City and County are teaming up to address a gap involving those in the city who don’t have transportation.
 “This will be a big step to address concerns that have been raised in the City of Poughkeeepsie, and we appreciate the efforts of both Dutchess County Executive Molinaro and MidHudson Regional Hospital to help solve the issue,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison.

“This partnership responds to unique challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic in an urban community – where there is greater population density and many people who do not have their own transportation,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “The County and City have a strong partnership, and that relationship has served us well through the COVID crisis. This transportation initiative addresses a paramount concern – ensuring people have the ability to get tested so we can stop the spread of COVID-19.”   

The County will pay for the bus service, which will bring people who lack transportation from their house to the testing site. The County will contract with Cedar Bus Co. which has the capacity to provide adequate social distancing and can sanitize the buses between trips.

The City will be responsible for taking the calls from residents and scheduling the testing appointment and booking the transportation. City residents who lack transportation but want to be tested should call 845-451-4073 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Mondays or Wednesdays to schedule an appointment. The testing will be available between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mayor Rolison Pays Tribute to Theo ‘Tree’ Arrington Who Gave So Much to Our Youth

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Theo ‘Tree’ Arrington, who did such exemplary work for this community through the R.E.A.L. Skills Network and so many other endeavors. Tree was larger than life. His heart was as big as he was. You simply can’t replace people like Tree.

R.E.A.L. stands for “Relationship Empowerment Affirmation Leadership.” It was something Tree knew about himself. Tree started the program, recognizing the need for more youth development initiatives in the city. The R.E.A.L Skills Network served so many youth over the years, from those in elementary to high school. Tree understood that some youth need extra care to navigate through the various societal systems, to develop better skills and social values. Tree had a way of connecting with youth, and he led by example. He will be deeply missed.”  Mayor Rob Rolison, City of Poughkeepsie