Mayor »

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rolison Tests Positive for COVID-19, Is In Quarantine at Home

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine at home.

The Mayor was not feeling well last week, stayed at home and got tested for COVID-19. A PCR nasal swab test came back from the lab with a positive reading.

 “I’m feeling fine after a few days with aches and pains and a slight fever,” the Mayor said. “The important message here is if you are not feeling well, please stay home and help stop the spread of this virus.”

The mayor intends to work from home the rest of this week and will follow health protocols. He hopes to be able to return to City Hall next week.

The City of Poughkeepsie has developed a Coronavirus Updates & Resource Guide to provide you with the latest information pertaining to the COVID-19 and to serve as a resource guide so people can get educated about the coronavirus, https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/coronavirus.

City of Poughkeepsie Looking for Community-Minded Volunteers to Serve on Land Use Review Boards

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor announced today the City is looking for residents to serve on a number of land use review boards: Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Waterfront Advisory Committee, Historic District and Landmark Preservation Commission, and Shade Tree Committee. Candidates must be a current and full-time resident of the City of Poughkeepsie. All positions are unpaid, volunteer positions that allow residents to have a direct impact on projects and development within the City. If you have been looking for a way to get involved, here’s your chance!

Planning Board

The Planning Board meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. and is responsible for reviewing a variety of development-related applications, including: site plans, subdivisions, special permits, signs, façades, Planning Department referrals for zoning changes, and Common Council referrals for advisory opinions. Encouraged skill sets include planning, architecture, construction, land use law, environmental engineering, business operation, community organizing, and above all, passion for your community and attention to detail. Members of the Board are expected to commit up to 10 hours per month over a term of 3 years, plus an additional 4 hours of training each year. 

Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meets the second Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. and is a quasi-judicial board responsible for making zoning interpretations, recommending zoning changes to the Common Council, approving changes of legal nonconforming uses, and for ruling on area and use variance requests.  Members of the Board are expected to commit approximately 6 hours per month over a term of 3 years, plus an additional 4 hours of training each year.

Waterfront Advisory Committee

The Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) was created in 1986 and has served in an advisory capacity to the Mayor, Common Council, Planning Board, and other City officials for all activities and/or developments within the delineated boundaries of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Zone. The Committee is also responsible for assisting with updating and carrying out the City’s Local Waterfront Redevelopment Program. The WAC meets the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.

Historic District & Landmark Preservation Commission

The HDLPC is a group of city residents appointed by the Mayor who are charged with reviewing all plans for the moving, exterior construction, alteration or repair, landscaping or demolition or any change in the exterior appearance of places, sites, structures or buildings designated landmarks or landmark sites and all places, sites, structures or buildings wholly or partly within the boundaries of a historic district. The Commission also considers applications for designation of historic landmarks and/or districts and makes recommendations regarding those applications to the Common Council. The HDLPC meets the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.

Shade Tree Commission

The Shade Tree Commission (STC) was formed in 1978 in order to study the problems and needs of the city in connection with its tree planting program and to make recommendations to the Planning Board, City Administrator, and Mayor as to type and kind of trees to be planted in the City. Other functions include the dissemination of news and information regarding the protection, maintenance, removal and planting of trees in the City.

Candidates should submit a resume and letter of interest stating why they would like to serve on the board or committee of their choice to the City Chamberlain by December 18, 2020 [email protected]. Candidates may identify multiple boards that they are interested in serving on.

City of Poughkeepsie Selected To Partner With TD Tree Days to Enhance Urban Forest By Planting Trees

The City of Poughkeepsie has been selected by TD Bank to receive a 2020 TD Tree Days grant, enabling City staff to plant 60 native trees at scattered sites from October 19 to October 30.

TD Tree Days is a community-based program created in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, which expands urban forests and green spaces in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Planting sites were also selected based on their location within high foot-traffic commercial corridors and CSO catchment areas.

“We are appreciative of TD Bank and this excellent program that has so many community and environmental benefits,” said Mayor Rob Rolison.

“We’re honored to support City of Poughkeepsie during TD Tree Days to expand the tree canopy and help provide a healthier environment, which is critically important this year as more people recognize the wellness benefits of spending time outdoors during the pandemic,” said Shelley Sylva, TD Bank’s Head of Social Impact. “TD Tree Days is part of the TD Ready Commitment which supports initiatives to help ensure a sustainable and inclusive future for all. TD Tree Days is one of many programs that promote a vibrant planet by providing green spaces where they are most needed. Trees do much more than beautify our communities – they produce oxygen; improve air quality and slow climate change by reducing carbon emissions, airborne pollutants and smog; provide cooling shade to reduce energy costs; and enhance quality of life.”

Now in its ninth year, the TD Tree Days program typically brings together community members and TD employees at planting events in communities from Maine to Florida. Founded in Canada in 2010, the program has positively impacted communities and the environment as TD’s flagship volunteer and urban greening program, planting more than 435,000 native trees and shrubs, primarily in Canada and the U.S., and is managed with support from the Arbor Day Foundation. Under the TD Ready Commitment platform, TD pledges to plant one million trees in North America by 2030, and the TD Tree Days program will count toward that goal.

City of Poughkeepsie is one of 17 organizations in the United States that was chosen to participate in TD Tree Days through an application process.

“We are excited to participate in TD Tree Days because planting new trees was a key action identified in the City’s recently completed Tree Inventory and Management Plan,” said Natalie Quinn, City of Poughkeepsie’s Planning Director. “Our street trees are the only public infrastructure that actually increases in value with age. The cumulative benefits of our urban forest are shared by all residents, current and future.”

In addition to Poughkeepsie, TD Tree Days events are scheduled in these communities this award cycle: Detroit, MI, Trenton, NJ. Wimauma, FL, Piedmont, SC, Lewiston, ME, Camden, NJ, Boynton Beach, FL, Poughkeepsie, NY, Bronx, NY, Pine Forest and Crandon Parks in Miami, FL, Bridgeport, CT, Myrtle Beach, SC, Roxbury, MA, Philadelphia, PA, Wilmington, DE, and Pawtucket, RI. 

About the TD Ready Commitment

TD Tree Days supports TD’s longstanding commitment to community enrichment and forms one component of its TD Ready Commitment, a multi-year platform that actively promotes inclusivity, economic vitality, environmental wellbeing and health, enabling people of all backgrounds to succeed in a rapidly changing world. As part of the TD Ready Commitment, TD targets CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four critical areas: Financial Security, a more Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through this platform, TD aspires to create a more inclusive tomorrow — helping people of all backgrounds feel more confident, not just about their finances, but about their ability to achieve their goals. Click here for more information about the TD Ready Commitment.

About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9.5 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,220 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US and www.twitter.com/TDNews_US.

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD”. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us.

Mayor Rolison Releases Preliminary 2021 Budget That Lowers Tax Rate, Stays Below Property Tax Cap

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison has released his 2021 preliminary budget that lowers the tax rate, stays under the New York State property tax cap, maintains essential city services and avoids layoffs of full-time employees.

The mayor’s $91 million budget plan goes to the Common Council for review and approval.

“These are extraordinary times,” said Mayor Rolison. “The pandemic has dealt us a mighty financial blow, but the city administration has taken a number of steps to mitigate the damage, and we have received a lot of help from our employees. It is our steadfast and resolute commitment that this City not go backward.”

In conjunction with the budget proposal, the administration will be submitting to the Common Council for approval collective bargaining agreements by the Police Benevolent Association and the Civil Service Employees Association that include no salaries raises for 2021. The mayor said the budget provides savings in many other areas but also the expectation of receiving $1 million in federal aid, as municipalities continue to confront the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.

“City employees have shown they are willing to make sacrifices to keep us operating at our current levels,” said City Administrator Marc Nelson, who also noted that management employees also will not receiving a salary increase in 2021.

Nelson pointed out that unlike most municipalities, the City of Poughkeepsie has no fund balance to cushion the blow from the COVID-19 crisis but also did not want to borrow money to make up the difference.

“This was a difficult budget to put together, but our finance team has proven up to the task,” he added.

The overall budget proposal represents a 1.9 percent increase over the 2020 budget, with the general fund appropriation of roughly $53.5 million increasing 1.28 percent. Property taxes would increase 1.5 percent, but the homestead tax rate would drop from $13.24 to $12.52 per $1,000 of assessed value, a decrease of 5.44 percent, while the non-homestead rate would dip from $17.16 to $16.44 per $1,000 of assessed value, or 4.2 percent.

The mayor’s budget does include a rate increase for sanitation services, but this adjustment also ensures the continuation of twice-weekly garbage pick-up, seasonal yard debris pickup, and once weekly recycling.  Mayor Rolison said other important initiatives – such as funding for youth services programs – will continue under his budget plan.

Mayor Rolison said the city administration will conduct a mid-year analysis in June to consider what other measures might be needed to address the city’s revenues and expenses.

“Our city and our city employees have been through tough times these past months,” the Mayor said. “The city administration has done the hard work to put forth a reasonable and responsible budget proposal during these trying times. The city will weather this crisis and come out stronger as a result.”

The administration will be presenting the budget at a meeting of the Common Council planned for November 9.

Read the Mayor’s full Budget Message at: https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/wp-content/files/finance/2021BudgetMessage.pdf

Direct Link to Preliminary Budget athttps://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/wp-content/files/finance/Budget2021_Prelim_final.pdf

For more information contact:

Community Engagement Office: 845-451-4241John Penney- [email protected]

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.

Mayor Rob Rolison Applauds Students, District as School Year Begins

As co-chair of the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, I want to wish all the students the best and also to offer my support for Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser as he and his team move forward with their reopening plan for the start of the 2020-21 academic year.

In a time of COVID-19, the school district has faced considerable challenges. But, with the help of the community, the district was able to get a distance-learning model into place at the end of the last school year as COVID-19 struck this area and began to spread.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has offered guidelines for how schools can open, and Dr. Rosser has carefully weighed his options and has decided to continue under the “remote-learning” model when school resumes on Sept. 10.

Dr. Rosser has always put the best interest of the community in mind, including students, teachers, staff and families. 

Last year, Dr. Rosser and I announced we would create a Children’s Cabinet designed to shepherd a shared vision and cradle-to-career path for child development in the city. This year, we have named members of the Cabinet’s Executive Committee and have started to meet to improve communication among many important stakeholders and the community at large.

I am grateful to be partnering with him on this endeavor. We all look forward to do the day when in-person instructions can begin for students and when more in-person meetings can occur for the Cabinet. Like so many others in the community, we are persevering through the COVID-19 crisis and anticipate better days. Please join me in lending your support for the school district as it works through the challenges of distance learning and devises innovative ways to ensure students are getting the education they deserve.

To find out more about the Children’s Cabinet, visit: https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/mayor/2020/02/26/school-superintendent-mayor-name-members-of-poughkeepsie-childrens-cabinet/

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