Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus said today he will continue to press the Democrat majority in the County Legislature to approve his latest proposal for alternate energy that the Democrats to date have stonewalled.
The County Executive said, “Four months ago, I sent the Legislature a proposal to build a geothermal alternate energy system and instead of getting Democrats’ prompt attention and support, it has been buried by Legislative Democrats with no commitment they have any intention of adopting the funds for its construction.”
The geothermal system would provide heating and cooling from the ground to serve the county government’s Highway Operations and Engineering Headquarters located on RT. 44 in the Town of Poughkeepsie. It would save taxpayers a projected $33,000 in fuel costs annually and this savings is only anticipated to grow as energy costs continue to rise.
Steinhaus said, “When I sent this proposal to the Legislature back in March, crude oil was $110 a barrel and today its $143 per barrel. Overall energy costs have risen 25 to 30%. With the cost of energy hitting historic highs almost daily, the taxpayers should be able to count on the Democrat leadership of the County Legislature to jump on an opportunity for alternate energy but instead Dutchess Democrats are all talk and no action, unwilling to match their empty environmental rhetoric with votes.”
The County Executive added, “Since my proposal for an alternate energy system was sent to the legislature in March, April has come and gone, May and June have come and gone, and we are now in July. Fuel prices are soaring and still there is no commitment from Democrats that they have any interest in this alternate energy option staring them right in the face.”
“Another main element of our Buildings and Facilities upgrades is for a comprehensive Alternate Energy Options Study for other county building. But just like the geothermal project, this initiative languishes in the legislature with no pledges of support from the Democrat leadership,” said the Executive.
The bond totals $3,325,930 for the various elements of the reconstruction and upgrades to buildings and facilities. This amount would include funds for necessary facility infrastructure projects without incurring costly additional taxpayer expense, as costs have been increasing 12 to 18% on an annual basis.
The Buildings and Facilities Bond encompasses several projects that are critical to sustaining the infrastructure of county government. As part of the administration’s continued policy of fiscal restraint, many of these projects have been either handled in house for as long as possible or the start of the projects has been pushed out as far as feasible. However, these projects have reached a point where they can no longer be delayed without incurring substantial new added cost to taxpayers. Steinhaus said, “The Democrats continuing to stall these projects will have enormous ripple effects for county taxpayers who will face the burden of much higher costs, in addition to the lost ecological benefits, if these delays continue.”
County Executive Steinhaus noted, “Every taxpayer understands county facilities require proper maintenance, no differently than family homes. Roof, mechanical and other repairs cannot be ignored in our home, nor can the County ignore necessary facility repairs or needs to modernize,” Steinhaus continued.
Project elements also affected by the bond include:
Emergency Generators at the County Office Building and Dept of Mental Hygiene facility Last summer’s power outage demonstrated the necessity of these generators. The County Office Building and the Mental Hygiene Building are two of the most populated facilities and prolonged outages could require shutting down county government services. Delays will inevitably result in estimated annual cost increases of 12 to 18% for materials and labor.
HVAC Improvements are required at DSS and Family Court buildings
The units are long past their anticipated lifespan, thanks to ongoing in-house repair and maintenance. Further delay in replacing the units will result in increased costs for material and labor, possibly up to 12-18% annually.
Miscellaneous Building Repairs
Repairs are necessary at the 60 Market Street building, the LOOP bus facility and the Beacon Center. Further delaying these repairs will result in annual cost escalations up to 12 to 18% as well as increased liability risk.
All of these buildings are frequented by county residents and are the daily workplaces for hundreds of county employees, therefore it is critical that they are repaired and maintained, so programs and services are not interrupted.