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News Release    

February 7, 2003  

Steinhaus Delivers 2003 "State of the County"

300 Community and Local Leaders Attend in Fishkill
 

Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus delivered his 2003 State of the County address before more than 300 community and business leaders as well as local officials Wednesday, February 5, 2003 during the annual meeting of the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn in Fishkill, New York.

Steinhaus said, “Each year in the State of the County address, I not only focus on the issues important to carrying out the mission of county government in the delivery of services and programs for our residents but also, importantly, I focus on the vision for our county with an emphasis on quality of life and economic security issues critical to the future of the families and businesses that call Dutchess County home.”

The over-arching theme of the address, Securing Our Future…At Home and In Our Community, included a report on the overall sound status of county government finances under Mr. Steinhaus’ stewardship and actions both taken and planned in the coming year that will help secure the families and businesses of the county economically and personally. The address also discussed actions taken and planned for securing the community with the quality of life Steinhaus envisions for the residents of Dutchess County now and in the future.

Some of the highlights include the following:

  • plans for a 2003 Economic Security Summit to explore the community’s current and future economic and business challenges to create more high quality sustainable jobs, to evaluate existing strategies and programs, and to set a course for building even stronger economic security for county residents and business; the summit will be held in the Fall and is similar to two other summits the County Executive convened in the early and mid-90’s in response to corporate downsizing and economic challenges affecting the community at that time.

  • creating a Local Government Efficiency Task Force to identify and consider opportunities to reduce the cost of local government at all levels through shared efforts beyond those currently done by the county with local municipalities (i.e. shared purchasing program; on-line bid announcements; insurance pool, etc.);

  • Homeland Security issues such as the commitment to install Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVLs) in police vehicles, an essential lifesaving technology, to enhance public safety and security in the community, further reducing emergency response times; the enhancement of emergency preparedness through partnership with the Northern Metropolitan Healthcare Foundation (NorMet) to develop a Medical Reserve Corps to assist local medical professionals and facilities in responding to a large-scale emergency; the further enhancement of the County Health Department’s ability to provide up-to-date information on bio-terrorism issues to area hospitals and physicians;

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  • continued work on the development of the Mid-County Rail Trail along the former 13-mile Maybrook Rail line through the communities of Wappinger, East Fishkill, LaGrange and Poughkeepsie – as well as other trails linking and connecting our communities up and down the 50 miles of the county’s Hudson River frontage, from Beacon and Fishkill through Wappinger;

  • water quality and quantity issues, including the continuing work on the Central Dutchess Utilities Corridor and a request to the Dutchess County Board of Health, with inclusive participation from all areas of the community, to undertake a comprehensive analysis of water issues and develop recommendations for the County Executive and the Legislature to consider for the 40% of county residents who rely on private wells for their drinking water;

  • creation of a Spring Celebration of the Arts, to coincide with the opening of Dia in Beacon and to celebrate and recognize the value of the arts, cultural and other local amenities to Dutchess County and its residents; and

  • the County’s commitment and participation in the construction of a Community Boathouse Rowing Center on the shores of the Hudson in the town of Poughkeepsie that will provide a home for the Hudson River Rowing Association, and importantly, a home that will bring together five local high school rowing programs and present the county with more “Hub” and tourism opportunities.
As a conclusion to the full address, Steinhaus said, “Dutchess County’s future - the future I am confident in and excited about - all depends on a secure economy, a balanced tax base, a stable population, and a safe, secure community. The progress we have made in these areas is remarkable, yet we can never take that progress for granted. I have attempted in this 2003 address to convey “how” I believe we will not let that happen, how we will together keep this community one step in front of others as we position and re-position ourselves to deal with securing our future.”

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