For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Poughkeepsie ... Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has forwarded a resolution to the Dutchess County Legislature for $100,000 to be taken from the County’s General Contingency fund to assure potable water and acceptable septic facilities are available to the residents of the Cooper Road Mobile Home Park in Wappinger. The water system issues, including inoperable chlorine disinfection, were declared a public health emergency and detrimental to public health after the park’s owner, Michael Robilotta, fired the certified water system operator and failed to make repairs to the water system as ordered by the Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) in accordance with New York State and Dutchess Sanitary Codes.
County Executive Molinaro said, “This is a complicated situation where residents who own their mobile home have been victimized by the park owner who chose to walk away from his responsibilities as a landlord. It is not as easy to simply move a mobile home as the name implies and these families should not be forced to abandon the homes they have invested in and start again somewhere else. We will not allow these residents to be chased from their homes. We will do what is necessary to ensure the public health and safety of park residents and use the full extent of the law to make certain justice is served against the property owner.”
Under the Commissioner’s Order, the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority (DCWWA) has been authorized to evaluate, operate, secure, and make needed emergency repairs to the water supply system. DCWWA has been operating the system since September 14th and provided assessments of the system including cost estimates for short term operational repairs as well as estimates for long term solutions. The County Legislature will consider the $100,000 funding resolution which will allow the DCWWA to continue operating the system in the short-term and fix the water system to provide potable water. Additionally, the funding will allow for necessary repairs to the sewer system to be made as well as repairs to the buildings and infrastructure housing the water and sewer system equipment. Long-term solutions are estimated to cost an additional $300,000 to $500,000. The County will recoup the funding by filing a lien against the property. Additionally, the property owner, Michael Robilotta, has amassed administrative penalties totaling $136,5000 and continues to incur additional penalties for each day he is non-compliant.
“Our greatest concern is for the public’s health. With DCWWA now overseeing the community’s drinking water, we know the residents of Cooper Road Mobile Home Park will have reliable access to water,” said DBCH Commissioner A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH. “We are taking actions against the owner of the property due to the disregard shown for the health and safety of the residents.”
Putnam National Bank has begun foreclosure proceedings against Mr. Robilotta. DBCH, in coordination with the Dutchess County Department of Community & Family Services, has been working with Hudson River Housing and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to connect the mobile home park residents with legal assistance for long- term solutions. Several of the tenants have been working with Legal Services on possible solutions which could include the formation of a tenant Home Owner Association (HOA) which could be responsible for the water system and work with Putnam National Bank for property management during the foreclosure proceedings or possibly become owners of the property.
The funding resolution will be discussed this evening at the Dutchess County Legislature’s Family & Human Services Committee meeting and, if approved in committee, will be voted on for approval on Tuesday, October 15th at the full Dutchess County Legislature board meeting.
Additional information about the Cooper Road Mobile Home Park public health emergency, including the current Commissioner’s Order, can be found at www.dutchessny.gov/cooperroad.