Issues


There are so many problems facing the government of the Town of Poughkeepsie, that a truly comprehensive issues section would be in the hundreds if not thousands of pages.

As the campaign rolls out, so will the issues section of this website, sign up for updates through the "Get Involved" button above, and stay tuned!

THE 2020 BUDGET

This is my statement on the proposed 2020 budget. It bears noting that at least one local newspaper published the press release put out by the incumbent verbatim, and without doing its own critical analysis of this 143 page proposal:

This budget is all smoke and mirrors and insults the intelligence of taxpayers and residents of the Town of Poughkeepsie. My opponent is touting an over $1 million tax cut which is a complete farce. The incumbent is gambling that our town will see an additional $2,235,000 in phantom revenue which will likely leave us over $1 million in the hole. Some of the dubious revenue forecasts include:

* $150,000 in projected increased revenue from fines and bail forfeiture to $900,000. This is foolish because New York State is ending cash bail for most non-felony offenses, starting January 1, 2020, which means that nearly the entire $900,000 will be from our residents paying significantly more fines.

* $950,000 in projected revenue from NYS Mortgage Tax, even though for 2019, we have only actually received $185,540 in revenue from that tax to date, which means for 2019 we have an over $700,000 shortfall from the $900,000 that was projected as revenue from this tax for 2019.

* $2,500,000 in projected revenues from the sales tax, even though we projected $2,300,000 for 2019 (which is our minimum under the county sales tax formula), and we've only received $1,741,180 to date. Economists are forecasting a recession, which means a decrease in consumer spending, not an increase.

* $820,000 more in projected metered water sales in 2020 ($5,351,903) over what was projected for 2019 ($4,531,869), even though we have an over $1.1 million shortfall to date in how much has been sold versus what was projected for 2019.

*and many others, all totaling at least $2,235,000 in speculative revenue.

This is a shell game using our tax dollars and services. If those baseless projections fall short, we, the residents of the Town of Poughkeepsie, will suffer the consequences of drastic cuts to our already lowest-in-the-county level of services at a minimum.

If you or I ran our households or businesses this way, this would be considered living beyond ones means and we would soon be bankrupt, which is what this budget will do to our Town.

We deserve better than a supervisor who plays politics with our budget, making irresponsible projections that make things look rosy in an election year. Our town deserves a supervisor who will prepare an honest, realistic, and transparent budget, and who will take his responsibilities seriously. This budget proves that the incumbent is not that person.

Vote for Michael Treybich on November 5, 2019!

Our Crushing Tax Burden, Economic Development and Jobs

"Dutchess County Property taxes ranked sixth in the state and 37th in the country" according to an April 6, 2017 report in the Poughkeepsie Journal.

According to an April 23, 2018 report in the Poughkeepsie Journal, "Residents in the town of Poughkeepsie had the highest effective property tax rate in Dutchess County". Put another way, out of the 20 towns in Dutchess County, we were number 1.

Our commercial tax rate is over two and a half times that of our second highest "competitor", and as a result, our small businesses struggle to pay their bills and to stay in business. The vacancies in our commercial areas are obvious. The businesses and local jobs that come with them are moving out, "for lease" signs and unemployment are moving in.

Homeowners are being taxed out of our homes. Town hall tells us that if we can't afford to live here, we should sell our homes.

What services do we have to show for our highest-in-the-county taxes? Unlike many nearby towns we don't have an indoor recreation center, a town pool, curb-side bulk trash pick up, or after-school programs for our children. Several of the parks and playgrounds we do have are falling apart. At the same time, our town is borrowing millions of dollars to repair our roads, something other towns manage to pay for out of normal revenues. Simply put, the incumbent supervisor and majority on the Town of Poughkeepsie board are mismanaging our tax dollars.

Some of the challenges we face have broader causes: across the country, for example, brick and mortar retail is struggling due to the “Amazon effect” and the impact of online shopping. Yet our town has not updated its master plan in a decade, the plan that is in place, originally adopted in the 1980s, has not been adhered to, and there has been no initiative from the Town to change the business environment to save our jobs.

When I am elected supervisor with a majority on the board, I will manage our tax dollars effectively. With wise management, we can begin to lower property tax rates and shift our funding priorities to provide the amenities that we expect. We will also revamp the town's master plan and zoning maps to encourage small businesses, and the jobs they generate, to come back to the Town of Poughkeepsie. We can grow our tax base, create jobs, and at the same time, get our money’s worth from our taxes.

Vote for Michael Treybich on November 5, 2019!

Pay to Play

Apparently, the best investment you can make is a campaign contribution to the current Supervisor.

FACTS:

On September 22, 2016, the Law Firm of Van Dewater & Van Dewater LLP contributed $660.00 to the current Supervisor's campaign committee.

Source: NYS Board of Elections campaign filing

On January 4, 2017, in a no-bid contract, the Town of Poughkeepsie hired the Law Firm of Van Dewater & Van Dewater LLP to be the Town's attorneys for $98,000.00, and to provide additional legal services at an hourly rate for up to another $65,000.00, for a total contract value of up to $163,000.00.

Source: Town of Poughkeepsie Board Meeting Minutes 1/4/2017

On September 24, 2016, the Law Firm of Wallace & Wallace LLP contributed $250.00 to the current Supervisor's campaign committee.

Source: NYS Board of Elections campaign filing

On January 4, 2017, in a no-bid contract, the Town of Poughkeepsie re-hired the Law Firm of Wallace & Wallace LLP to represent the Town in the Town of Poughkeepsie Town Courts at an hourly rate for an annual cap of $60,000.00, with additional zoning and planning board services worth up to $65,000.00, for a total contract worth up to $125,000.00.

Source: Town of Poughkeepsie Board Meeting Minutes 1/4/2017

On September 22, 2016, the Law Firm of Mackey Butts & Wise LLP contributed $500.00 to the current Supervisor's campaign committee.

Source: NYS Board of Elections campaign filing

On January 4, 2017, in a no-bid contract, the Town of Poughkeepsie signed a "Labor and Employment Legal Services Letter Agreement for the year 2017 between the Town of Poughkeepsie and David R. Wise, Esq. of the law firm of Mackey, Butts and Wise" for an undisclosed amount.

Source: Town of Poughkeepsie Board Meeting Minutes 1/4/2017

It doesn't surprise me that pay to play is happening in our town, but rather, I'm surprised at how inexpensive it is.

Taxpayers shouldn't have to wonder about the cause and effect here. When I am elected, I will work to have the Town Board pass a bill which prohibits town contractors from donating funds to Town officials, and barring Town officials from soliciting campaign contributions from those doing business or seeking to do business with the Town.

Bottini Law Suit

In what I think are two of the cardinal sins in a democracy, the Town Board of Poughkeepsie deprived the residents of the Hamlet of New Hamburg of their day in court and allowed us, the tax-paying residents of the Town of Poughkeepsie to be bullied.

Bottini's expansion of its out of state wholesale fuel delivery business has resulted in an increase in the number of large, heavy, smelly and loud 18-wheel tanker trucks.  Driving, parking and idling these trucks  through the narrow, residential streets of New Hamburg to use the fuel oil depot along New Hamburg's waterfront has had a severe negative impact of the safety and quality of life for residents.

Initially, the Town of Poughkeepsie Board responded to the residents of New Hamburg by enacting certain traffic, parking and idling ordinances which restricted those 18-wheelers. In response, the Bottini-affiliated companies sued the Town.

The Town Board started settlement talks with Bottini. It became clear that the terms being discussed would not be popular with the residents of New Hamburg. In response to this, the New Hamburg neighborhood association put together a collection and hired its own attorney to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of New Hamburg residents, so that the Judge could hear from them.

The court adjourned New Hamburg's request to intervene for 30 days so that the Town and Bottini could respond to New Hamburg's request. At the time, the Town and Bottini were months apart from a settlement.

Instead of waiting, the Town Board rushed to complete a hasty settlement agreement. The Board  then  called and held a special meeting to ratify the settlement  terms before the residents of New Hamburg could have their day in court.

This is not the way a democracy should function. The current supervisor failed to show leadership in standing up to the bullying of Bottini. This  is evident by the deeply flawed process and the fact that the matter settled very quickly, and on the terms dictated by Bottini.

When I am elected Supervisor, before any lawsuit, I will reach out and worked with both the residents and the local business to find an agreeable solution. In this case, I would have worked to  identify other properties from which this industrial business could operate. None of this was done, and instead the current "leadership" invited this and future lawsuits against the Town.

Dutton Law Suit

In what seems to be a recurring theme, the Town of Poughkeepsie is being sued by yet another business.

Construction of a proposed $73 Million real estate development project, with 384 residential units – 300 units in the City and 84 units in the Town – as well as commercial space is proposed on land which straddles the Town and City of Poughkeepsie, just north of the Walkway over the Hudson.

After many months of negotiations with the developer, the Town Planning Board recommended that the Town Board approve a zoning overlay district to permit construction to proceed.

The Town Board had three options:

1. Approve the project by accepting the recommendation of the Planning Board,

2. Negotiate with the developer to make changes to the zoning amendment proposed by the Planning Board to address any concerns they may have had, or

3. Reject the project by rejecting the recommendation of the Planning Board without further discussion with the developer.
The Town Board chose option number 3.

I don't know if the lawsuit has any merit nor am I in favor of rubber-stamping unfettered construction, however, I do know that our Town is in need of a better vision for, and stewardship of, our economic development.

The additional revenue to the Town of Poughkeepsie that 84 units would provide to the tax rolls of the Town, the County, the School District, and the Fire District, is money that otherwise is going to come out of taxpayer pockets.

Further, because of rising demand and flat supply, the cost of rentals in the Town of Poughkeepsie are increasing faster than inflation or local salaries. The lack of affordable housing –especially rentals—is on its way to becoming a crisis in the Town and we are in danger of losing many working-class and senior residents who will be priced out of their homes.

The Town Board’s action is a blow to our prospects of attracting future development to meet the needs of residents, to improve our quality of life and to lower our high property tax burden. When a builder of new housing receives Planning Board support but then is turned away suddenly and without explanation, that makes others more reluctant to invest in the local jobs, affordable housing and commercial projects we so desperately need. When treated this way by the Town Board, would anyone invest in our Town, when they can take their money, and the jobs, taxes and infrastructure that go with their projects, elsewhere?

Finally, this lawsuit can probably be traced in part to the Bottini settlement. Settling these types of cases is a serious sign of weakness, and attracts future lawsuits against the Town since those doing business with the Town know that they can obtain in litigation what they can’t get through negotiation.

When I am elected Supervisor, the Town of Poughkeepsie will be proactive in identifying property owned by the Town, develop uses for that property, and will seek appropriate projects in those places. We will also undertake a comprehensive zoning review, and will make zoning plans for development which makes sense in our neighborhoods.

My vision for economic development for our Town is to have an atmosphere where good-paying, local jobs thrive so that our children do not have to leave us to pursue their careers. We need to have sufficient affordable housing stock so that our children can afford to stay, working class residents will want to live here, and our senior citizens don’t get taxed out of their homes.

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