Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has forwarded a $1 million bond to the Dutchess County Legislature to provide additional funding for the Dutchess County Partnership for Manageable Growth Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “This will allow Dutchess to continue our steady progress securing development rights on important farm resources and assisting local municipalities in preserving public open space. We have completed nine acquisitions over the 5 years since the program’s start with additional projects moving toward closing. Together, our initiatives have totaled 1,793 acres of farmland and 424 acres of parkland preserved with a value of nearly $13.5 million.” Once completed, the pending projects will bring County government’s total expenditure of County dollars to $4.5 million. Projects moving toward closing are in Rhinebeck, Union Vale, and in North East.
Dutchess County’s Capital Program currently authorizes $7 million for open space and farmland preservation efforts throughout the county. This new $1 million bond will bring the total appropriated funding of the program to $5 of the $7 million planned in the Capital Program. The first million was approved when County Executive Steinhaus authored and launched the program in 2000; the second million was appropriated in 2001; and an additional $2 million dollar bond was approved in 2004. The proposed increase will permit the County to complete the current projects in the three towns noted.
“As competition for our limited funding increases, we must give priority to local communities that share our vision—we cannot expect the County government to act on behalf of municipalities that are not willing to assume some financial responsibility for stewardship of their own local projects.” Steinhaus emphasized, “While most proposals have merit, the extent of local government support must be a priority consideration before committing County dollars.”
All of the County’s acquisitions have been accomplished in partnership with other funding sources such as the State of New York, local land trusts, private donors, and municipalities. Local municipal partners to date include the Towns of Dover, Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Union Vale, and Wappinger, as well as the City of Poughkeepsie and the Village of Rhinebeck.