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News Release    

February 2, 2009      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

County Executive Steinhaus Issues Annual Report

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus released his 2009 State of the County report to the Dutchess County Legislature as required by the Dutchess County Charter.    On Wednesday evening, County Executive Steinhaus will sit down with Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce President Ann Meagher for a relaxed, informal conversation at the Chamber’s monthly dinner meeting and discuss what is going on in Dutchess County as well as some of his priorities for 2009 as outlined in the State of the County report.  This new and innovative format will be presented at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel.  

“Like communities across America, Dutchess County is facing many challenges particularly in the economic climate we are in,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “Dutchess County Government is working hard to meet those challenges and successfully weather the stormy waters we find ourselves navigating.”

The over-arching theme of the 2009 State of the County is Leading and Managing in Hard Times.  The report outlines the local economic conditions and the institutional structure in place for economic development; reviews the County’s current fiscal position and highlights economic challenges facing county government; and discusses the technological innovations and community partnerships that will move Dutchess County Government forward in 2009.

“We have worked hard to keep our financial footing solid, but the uncertainty of the current economy, increased demand for health, human, and social services along with the looming impacts of the proposed State budget, can easily undermine our position and put us on shaky ground if we do not remain vigilant,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “We can not allow for erosion of the strong position this administration has built and fought to maintain.”

Report highlights include the following:

  • Improving Economic Development Capacity   Dutchess County, like counties across the nation, continues to feel the impact of the current economic recession.  Dutchess County has a strong institutional structure in place to meet economic challenges.    To further strengthen that structure, County Executive Steinhaus has announced the formation of an Economic Development Cabinet to identify new directions in economic and job creation strategies, act as a coordinating team to share information, monitor emerging economic indicators, and ensure full collaboration of relevant activities.  The Cabinet will initially consist of the professional and volunteer leadership from the following organizations and will be chaired by Dutchess County Planning and Development Commissioner Roger Akeley
    • Economic Development Corporation
    • Industrial Development Agency
    • Economic Development Zone
    • Workforce Investment Development Board
    • Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce
    • Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce
    • Dutchess County Planning Board

  • Continued expansion of the County’s shared services and collaborations with local municipalities, surrounding counties and community agencies to seek the most cost-effective purchasing arrangements through the Hudson Valley Municipal Purchasing Group to ensure participating organizations get the best possible prices on basic necessities of operations.

  • Managing Future Needs with Critical Capital Projects   Dutchess County Government is positioned to make necessary investments in infrastructure and equipment to ensure the needs of county residents will continue to be met.  County Executive Steinhaus highlighted his proposal to replace and upgrade the E-911 telephone communications system so the Department of Emergency Response can deliver on its mission of providing a strong, reliable communications system.

  • Technology Innovations to Work Smarter, Increase Productivity & Improve Customer Service.  In 2009, Dutchess County Government will continue to embrace technology to better serve county residents with minimal investment of operational funds.  Some of the  inititiaives include:
    • Continued enhancement of the County’s website  to make it even more accessible and provide information that users need quickly and easily.   Some of the enhancements include speech enabling to allow web visitors to hear text on each page read aloud, website language translation for viewing text in a variety of different languages and an integrated county calendar where residents will be able to use a simple, consolidated view of County Government’s ongoing activities and events.
    • The Department of Social Services will launch an electronic distance nursing home application pilot program where Medicaid applications for nursing home patients can be completed using computer web cameras for mandated face-to-face interviews.  This will save travel time, reduce waiting room time and speed up the application process.

  • Healthy Community Partnerships  The  Department of Health will partner with the City of Poughkeepsie to take advantage of $160,000 NYS Department of Health Primary Prevention Lead Grant.  The collaboration will identify high risk housing with conditions conducive to lead poisoning and provide education to reduce childhood lead poisoning.

“As a community, we are facing great uncertainty and daunting challenges.   But just as we have in the past, we will come together as a community in partnership and collaboration to find solutions to those challenges and keep our county successfully moving forward,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.

County Executive Steinhaus’ full report is available online at by clicking the “State of the County.”   For more information about the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce’s dinner event, visit their website at


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