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The doors close at the Hudson River Psychiatric Center

The County Account
KelseyESQ@yahoo.com

A historic chapter came to an end in Dutchess County on Thursday, Jan. 26, when a 145-year-old institution, Hudson River Psychiatric Center (HRPC), closed its doors. The only state hospital closure among 28 in existence in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo targeted HRPC in the 2011 budget in an attempt to narrow a $10 billion deficit. It now joins Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in Wingdale, which closed in 1994 under the previous Gov. Cuomo (Mario).

Wellness in Dutchess

The County Account

Iwant to address ‘Wellness on the Western Front,” and by that I mean Poughkeepsie, and while not all is well, things are looking up. This month, by a 24-1 margin, the Dutchess County Legislature moved initiatives of new County Executive Marc Molinaro forward in crucial areas of economic development and solid waste planning. Contrary to possible inferences, these were not rubber-stamping votes.

Costs and fairness of child support and jail costs considered in Dutchess County

The County Account
KelseyESQ@yahoo.com

Separately in recent weeks, Dutchess County has been considering the gigantic cost to house inmates at the county jail and the increasing costs of indigent counsel at Family Court including the approved proposal to utilize public defenders in family court matters.

Legislative chairman outlines 2012 agenda

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KelseyESQ@yahoo.com

At the Dutchess County Legislature’s opening session in early January, we re-elected Rob Rolison as our chairman for the third consecutive year. Chairman Rolison spoke of our policy priorities for the coming year in his acceptance speech. Excerpts are included below.

Solid waste

Transition at the top

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The New Year’s holiday causes us to look forward to 2012 with anticipation, but also to reflect back on the previous year. With the transfer of power from County Executive Bill Steinhaus to newly-elected Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County government has also been looking both forward and backward.

The Legislature recognized Steinhaus for his long service to county government at the final county legislative meeting in December. First elected in 1991, he served as county executive for 20 years and as county clerk for 13 years prior to that.

2012 county budget reflects a policy change

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By a vote of 16 to 9, the Dutchess County Legislature passed the 2012 County Budget in early December.

Change at Family Court

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At the time of this writing the county budget has passed from committee and is awaiting approval by the full Legislature. An important institutional change that seems imminent is the shift in assigned counsel at Family Court to a public defender model.

All three family court judges spoke at length against a public defender model at public hearings and in letters alluding to anticipated inefficiencies in quality of representation, cost and workability.

Duchess County Legislator considers local laws

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Even the most mild-seeming government regulation affects the people under its care. I remind myself of this frequently when weighing proposed county legislation versus the social contract theory of 17th century philosophers Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and others.

County Executive’s 2012 budget released

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On Tuesday, Nov. 1, County Executive William Steinhaus issued his final county budget, for which the Legislature will spend most of November scrutinizing and amending before final adoption in December.

Creating jobs in Dutchess County

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In our current economy where unemployment remains high, people are looking to the government for solutions. While job creation is not a traditional governmental role, creating and fostering environments ripe for economic development and job creation has become an expectation among the electorate.

In September and October, the County Legislature received reports from the county Industrial Development Agency (IDA), Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Workforce Investment Board on their efforts to revitalize the county’s economic health.