Mayor Rolison’s Preliminary 2020 Budget Lowers Tax Rates. City To Stay Under The New York Tax Cap.
of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that his 2020 preliminary
budget lowers the city’s homestead tax rate from $13.30 to $13.24 per $1,000 of
assessed value, and also lowers the non-homestead tax rate from $17.99 to
$17.16 per $1,000 of assessed value. The City’s tax levy increases from $24,057,546
to $24,495,525, or 1.82 percent, marking the third consecutive year the City
has stayed under the New York State tax cap. The spending plan for next year
recognizes a sharp drop in the City’s debt service costs of more than $1 million,
after the adoption of a formal debt management plan in 2017 and a bond
refunding transaction that occurred earlier this year.
Rolison said, “The budget I am sending to the Common Council today for their
approval continues our multi-year plan to make our local government more
efficient while increasing our capacity to deliver on our promise to improve
services to our residents and local businesses.”
last time the City lowered the tax rates was in 2009.
City’s budget funds a new position of Deputy Fire Chief to support the
safety-inspection and training functions, restores maintenance and service
agreements with various vendors that had been cut in years past, accounts for
all contractual increases and collective bargaining commitments and increases
funding for youth services. The spending proposal also calls for security
upgrades at municipal buildings, as well as data security and IT upgrades which
will support a new “continuity and disaster recovery plan” to be formalized
next year, and the replacement of an aging tax collection system that was installed
in the early 1990s.
budget makes no change to water, sewer or sanitation rates.
of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eric Jay
Rosser today announced they are partnering to launch the Poughkeepsie
Children’s Cabinet to create a shared vision and cradle-to-career agenda for
child development in the city.
cabinets are used by localities around the country to bring together school
districts, government agencies, child-serving community organizations and other
local stakeholders to improve their ability to collaborate and coordinate youth
supports and services. Cabinets address young people’s holistic needs as they
grow and develop. By creating common goals, sharing and comparing data, and
addressing gaps or duplications in resources, leaders in different systems
(healthcare, human services, parks and recreation, higher education and others)
are empowered to craft better policies and decisions.
city that is serious about guaranteeing the success of its children needs to
recognize its responsibility for what happens, not just at school, but beyond
the school day,” said Mayor Rolison. “I couldn’t be more excited to be
partnering with Dr. Rosser to build the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet into a
resource that will, for years to come, make sure each and every child in our
city has access to everything they need to thrive.”
establishment of the Children’s Cabinet is essential to helping to organize the
work of many community stakeholders, including the Poughkeepsie City School
District. Each of us are fully invested in creating opportunity and access for
children throughout the City of Poughkeepsie to achieve success,” said Dr.
Rosser. “I’m excited to co-chair with Mayor Rolison. As the top government
official of the City of Poughkeepsie, he has a strong track record of investing
in the City’s youth and is uniquely positioned to co-chair the Cabinet in the
work required for our children to be future leaders.”
behalf of the Board of Education and as a lifetime resident of the City of
Poughkeepsie, I welcome the creation of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet.
Our children possess great potential that must be maximized, and the Children’s
Cabinet will bring school, community and government together to work
collaboratively to guarantee that children have multiple pathways to success,”
said PCSD Board of Education President Dr. Felicia Watson.
development of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet will benefit from the
resources of The Local Children’s Cabinet Network, a national initiative of the
Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Education Redesign Lab, The Forum for
Youth Investment and the Children’s Funding Project. Poughkeepsie’s cabinet has
joined this network that brings together leaders from 30 localities in the U.S.
and Canada to provide research, expertise and tools to support creating and
operating successful cabinets.
Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet was an outcome of the first-ever Poughkeepsie
Summit at Harvard University, which convened more than 20 local officials and
nonprofit leaders to discuss community development opportunities related to the
City of Poughkeepsie’s future, with a focus on improving opportunities for
event was organized by a group of young professionals with deep ties to the
City of Poughkeepsie including James Watson, Kylynn Grier, Kelsey Donohue and
Robert Watson Jr. The team is bringing together alumni of
K-12 and higher education institutions in the City of Poughkeepsie area to
incubate innovative social impact projects and enhance the capacity of local
leaders and institutions by connecting them to comprehensive resources and
prominent national organizations such as Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab,
whose director welcomed the mayor and superintendent’s announcement today.
Rolison and Superintendent Rosser will be partnering with other government
officials, community organizations and local stakeholders to ensure the cabinet
reflects the strength and diversity of the individuals and groups committed to
the success of Poughkeepsie’s youth.
City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced
today that Tom Lawrence, Director of Poughkeepsie Public Library District, has
been appointed City of Poughkeepsie Historian.
Lawrence will serve as a resource for the general
public and will aid in the preservation of documents, maps, photographs and
other materials relating to the city’s history.
“Tom Lawrence’s devotion to the community and his
exceptional work with the Library District will serve him well as City
Historian,” said Mayor Rolison.
Lawrence, a native of Central New York, graduated
from the College of St. Rose in Albany with a BA in Social Sciences, from the
University of Oklahoma with a Masters in Library Science, and from Long Island
University with a Certificate of Advanced Study on public library
management. He has held librarian
positions in New York and Connecticut and has been at the Poughkeepsie Public
Library District for the last 24 years.
“As City Historian, I want to work with members of
the community to not only preserve the record of our past but to increase the
awareness and understanding of the Queen City’s rich history as we explore the
potential for its future,” he said.
Over the centuries, Poughkeepsie has transformed from a hamlet to a village to city. Poughkeepsie served as state capital following the burning of Kingston by the British in 1777. In 1788, members of the state convention in Poughkeepsie ratified the U.S. Constitution, with New York forging a new union with the original 13 colonies to become the United States of America. Among other significant landmarks, the city is the site of a Franklin D. Roosevelt-inspired Post Office; the Poughkeepsie Journal, the state’s oldest newspaper and the second oldest in the nation; and the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, the oldest continuously operating entertainment venue in the state, “The city’s history is all around us, and it’s not just in the history books,” Mayor Rolison said. “But the documentation of the city’s history – and the preservation of that history – is critically important. Tom Lawrence has been one of the trusted caretakers of these records and artifacts. We are grateful he has accepted this appointment.”
The City of
Poughkeepsie has released the applicant submissions it has received regarding
possible future uses of the former YMCA property on Montgomery Street.
The city will hold a public information
session at a later date to receive input about the plans from residents. The
city also has appointed an advisory committee that includes members of the
public to review the applications and make recommendations to the administration.
Dutchess County Legislator Barbara Jeter Jackson of the City of
Poughkeepsie will chair the committee, which also will include Common Council
member Sarah Salem of the Second Ward, where the former YMCA is located. Other
members of the committee are city residents Tamoya Norwood, Sashawna Isaacs and
Arthur T. Rollin; Paul Calogerakis, the city’s economic development director; and John
Penney, the city’s community engagement director.
“I’m looking forward to hearing the
committee’s recommendations – and also eager to hear what the public at large
has to say about these ideas,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison.
Earlier this year, the city took ownership of the
property as part of its anti-blight initiative. It then released a Request for
Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the property, with the goal of soliciting
ideas for future uses of the property that will yield significant community
Here is a summary of the submissions:
Montgomery Community Coalition – which includes Community Matters 2, Inc., DAY
ONE Early Childhood Learning Community, Dutchess Community College, Dutchess
County, MASS Design Group, Nuvance
Health, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie Public Library District, Vassar College, and YMCA
of Kingston and Ulster County – is proposing a multi-use facility that would
provide services connected to their respective missions in the community.
proposal re-establishes the former YMCA site as a community and recreation
resource that can be a safe, structured and horizon expanding space for
Poughkeepsie’s youth and families,” the coalition wrote in a submission sent by
Chris Kroner, principal of MASS Design Group.
just a building, our proposal and the coalition behind it represent a
comprehensive, cross-sector commitment to giving Poughkeepsie’s children the
best possible start in life.”
Gori and Ambre Kelly, co-founders of The They Co., are proposing to establish a
Poughkeepsie Museum of Contemporary Art. “Our 9 year history in revitalizing
New York City and Los Angeles spaces and boroughs gives us great excitement to
do the same in our hometown of Poughkeepsie, while also including a sensitivity
to community retention that could serve as a model for future towns.”
aquatic consultant at Swimming Past the Boundaries, is proposing The Swimming
Past the Boundaries Aquatic Center (SPBAC), a 22,000-square-foot indoor aquatic
facility that would “provide an asset to the immediate surrounding community
and Dutchess County as a whole.”
Artist Carolyn Hutchings Edlund is proposing an
Art Museum. “The newly available YMCA property would make an outstanding museum
location having already the bones of the structure, parking, and surrounding
parkland in which to display sculptures, host out-of-doors performing arts
The submission date for ideas was Thursday Sept.
process, the city held two well-attended meetings and then
answered dozens of questions the public posed at those meetings. The city also presented to the public
a video showing extensive damage to the inside of the building that has
been vacant for about a decade.
The prevailing view at
the public meetings was that the former YMCA site should be used again for
youth activities in some respect. Residents have suggested everything from an
indoor sports center arena to a place for employment and job-training programs.
classes begin in the Poughkeepsie City School District Thursday, I want to wish
all the students much success this year, and I am encouraged by the stronger
bond that has emerged between the district and the city.
The city school district has the wind at its back,
having recently hired Dr. Eric Rosser as its superintendent. We want him and
the rest of the school district to know that the city is here to work in partnership.
School Board President Felicia Watson and I were among those recently attending
the ‘Poughkeepsie Summit at Harvard University.’ This summit focused on
developing citywide solutions to help children succeed.
district can’t do it alone. The broader community has an obligation to teach
our children, to ensure they are safe and in nurturing environments. We have to
be in this together, and the city is committed to that effort.”
decades, industrial pollution in the Hudson River has devastated the commercial
fishing industry, and efforts to restore the majestic river to a healthier
state have proven entirely unsatisfactory.
commend the State of New York for filing a lawsuit against
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for prematurely issuing a
‘Certificate of Completion’ for the Hudson River PCB Cleanup.
General Electric should, indeed, conduct additional
remediation to clean up the river.
Furthermore, I commend Dutchess County Executive
Marcus J. Molinaro’s decision to file an amicus-curiae brief in support of the
state’s lawsuit. By doing so, on behalf of all county residents — including
those living in the City of Poughkeepsie — the County Executive is
appropriately emphasizing the economic and environmental impacts of the Hudson River on the area. Pronouncing GE’s cleanup of PCBs
complete at this point is premature and not in the public’s best interest or
I also appreciate the steadfast work of
environmental groups – including Riverkeeper, Clearwater and City of
Poughkeepsie-based Scenic Hudson – in insisting for better remedies for our
The City of Poughkeepsie is among those communities
relying on the Hudson River for drinking water. Making the river as clean as
possible is in everyone’s interest – and should be everyone’s goal.”
The City of Poughkeepsie will host its annual
Independence Day Fireworks Display on Thursday, July 4th shortly after dusk
(approximately 9:20 pm). The best places
to view the show are from Waryas Park (free), The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum
(tickets required), or the Walkway over the Hudson (tickets required).
Parking is free in municipal parking lots beginning
at 5 p.m. and in metered spaces after 6 p.m. Handicapped parking will be
available at Waryas Park. No Parking zones will be in place along North Water
Street and in the lots of Waryas Park. John M. Flowers Circle at Waryas Park
will be closed to vehicular traffic.
“We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Fourth of
July,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison. “There is no better place
to celebrate the holiday than on the waterfront in Poughkeepsie. We hope to see
Following two parades in a 48-hour period and other
events in between, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison thanks the community
for coming together and for fostering such positive energy in the city.
“This past weekend was extraordinary,” the mayor said.
Under pleasant skies on Friday afternoon, people
lined both sides of Main Street to watch a parade featuring the Poughkeepsie
High School basketball and crew teams, both state champions. The parade
continued through downtown and made its way to City Hall where the mayor,
School Board President Felicia Watson, coaches from both teams and others
greeted the players and presented them with awards. Many of the parade
participants and watchers then went over to Mansion Square Park where First
Friday festivities – featuring food vendors and music – were underway. The park
was jam-packed with people, and the event lasted until nightfall.
Poughkeepsie Pride Weekend
On Saturday afternoon, Poughkeepsie Pride Weekend organizers painted the crosswalk at Main and Bridge streets the colors of a rainbow flag, one of many events that culminated with a parade on Sunday afternoon. Approximately 1,000 participated in the city’s first pride parade and festival, an event held in correlation with the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village.
“Sunday’s parade was a joyful sight,” said the
mayor. “Having this parade in Poughkeepsie was truly fitting. The city embraces
diversity, and we compliment the organizers for working with us and putting on
such a great event. I also want to thank
our Police, Fire and Public Works departments for their outstanding work this
weekend. Having parades back to back presented some challenges, but, once
again, city employees were up to the task. Last weekend will be one that many people
will long remember.”
Last year, the City of Poughkeepsie established a Poughkeepsie-Oaxaca Friendship City Committee, in recognition of the many people from that Mexican city who live or have ties to Poughkeepsie.
The committee, which includes city officials and community members, explores connections between the two cities.
Two members of the Committee – Uriel Pinelo and Linda Marston-Reid — had separately planned vacations to Oaxaca and recently carried greetings on behalf of the City of Poughkeepsie to the mayor of Oaxaca.
For the trip, artist and filmmaker Jan Muller made a video that focuses on Poughkeepsie’s Oaxacan student body, its Oaxacan community members, and includes comment from City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison talking about the importance of education and acknowledging the vibrant Oaxacan community.