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Hudson Valley Press

March 8th, 2017

County Leaders Discuss Economic Future

Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, Sullivan County Legislative Chairman Luis Alvarez and Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus pose for a photo.
By Liz Gaschler

POUGHKEEPSIE - County leaders of Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan detailed the Hudson Valley’s plans for future economic development while lowering spending and consolidating services during this year’s Pattern For Progress breakfast on Tuesday, Feb., 28.

Over 300 people gathered to hear Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein and Sullivan County Legislative Chairman Luis Alvarez, discuss efforts of lowering taxes and redistributing money to build a better and more efficient community.

Since Hein’s first budget in 2010 spending has decreased by $30 million and has significantly lowered property taxes, in Ulster County. Molinaro discussed the first in the state, Crisis Stabilization Center opening in Dutchess County.  Through prevention, intervention, and diversion, the center will transition those liberated, providing job training for those struggling with addiction and mental-health issues. Alvarez discussed construction plans for a new jail, slated to increase taxes, but overall increase income for Sullivan County. Neuhaus beamed about the addition of Norwegian Air to Stewart Airport, increasing tourism, creating jobs and adding money to the economy.

The panel showed strong effort in collaborating with each other, higher-up public officials and the local taxpayer. The crowd applauded the officials on their bipartisan approach of working together. Questions from the audience addressed subjects such as public school funding, job diversity and government help for non-profits.

Hein exampled the Ulster County organization Gateway. A relied upon non-profit that houses people with disabilities, partnered up with the Meals on Wheels organization. The merge eradicated the Meals on Wheels waiting list and created work opportunities for the mentally disabled, providing nutritious meals to residents of all ages unable to cook for themselves. Neuhaus diligently said the government would stand with non-profits and will lead by example by “not allowing anyone to fall through the cracks.”

The county leaders expressed concern with state and federal government mandates, explaining that major reform is necessary to improve New York State.

“With uncertainty from Albany, it is our job to act as the middlemen to tell what happens in government, to you the taxpayer,” Molinaro said.

The breakfast was hosted at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and moderated by Pattern President and CEO Jonathan Drapkin.

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