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The County Account

Save money, make psych center a jail

The County Account

Dutchess County is presently housing out about 182 inmates per day to correctional facilities in other counties because the Dutchess County Jail lacks capacity to serve our public safety needs. In July the Dutchess County sheriff will request the Legislature approve $1.6 million, in addition to the $2.6 million included in the 2011 county budget, to cover housing-out costs.

Also in July, the Legislature will consider a second request from the sheriff for an additional $1 million for overtime expenses associated with assisting inmates “with medical and mental issues.”

Bonding a legislative issue before summer

The County Account
KelseyESQ@yahoo.com

Summer begins for those of us in the Dutchess County Legislature with multiple proposals to consider bonding money to finance infrastructure and capital improvements on county property. Certainly the county has responsibilities to take care of its assets, replace those that outlive their usefulness, maintain safety and make prudent decisions to keep county government functioning.

Citizen volunteers play critical role to town governments

The County Account
KelseyESQ@yahoo.com

Author and columnist Erma Bombeck once compared volunteers to yachts, noting in admiration that “they could stay moored where it’s safe and still justify their being, but they choose to cut through the rough waters” for a nobler purpose.

Government benefits considerably from citizen volunteers. In recent months the county Legislature has made appointments to several important committees and boards, with good representation from our region.

The ‘emerging epidemic’ of bedbug infestation in the county

The County Account

My colleagues in the Dutchess County Legislature raised their eyebrows recently when I submitted proposed legislation about bedbugs. No one regularly talks about bedbug infestation. But following my report on the county at the February village of Millbrook meeting, one woman did. She told me bedbugs have become quite a problem locally and asked me to look into it. I told her I would.

Mental health services endangered

The County Account

This week’s announcement of the state’s closure of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center (HRPC) and accompanying community residences is a step in the wrong direction. At a time when Dutchess County is already facing a record number of housing-out of mental health patients to other counties (87 in March), we will now be doubling this number due to HRPC’s October closure.

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Dutchess redistricting begins, outcome unknown

Th County Account

Speculation about political races is almost as fascinating to political watchers as uncertainty about the redistricting of legislative districts is daunting.

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Solid waste disposal has reached a crossroads

The County Account

Setting policy on solid waste is not something many of us dwell on, yet how society disposes of its trash has many ramifications to the environment, public health, wildlife and the quality of life of our communities.
As a child growing up in the 1980s, I recall family vacations in the Adirondack Mountains where my parents would take us to visit the town dump (landfill) to observe black bears feeding on human garbage. Then one year the town dump was replaced with a transfer station.

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Veteran population down, but appreciation is up

The County Account

Nationally, military operations have expanded as we enter our third concurrent war. Locally, the veteran count has diminished, according to census data showing the county’s total veteran population has decreased by 20 percent since 2000. The one constant seems to be the public policy goal of finding ways that we can show our appreciation for the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.

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County Legislature has been working

The County Account

In the first quarter of 2011, the County Legislature made progress on several fronts.

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Help on way for public transport in Dutchess

The County Account

Those of us who have chosen the rural life know that country charm comes with a price. We must travel farther for amenities and sacrifice conveniences for the tranquility of our rural lifestyles. For some of our neighbors, however, the distance to reach medical care, grocery stores or employment can be a struggle, especially for our seniors and those without access to a vehicle of their own.

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