Tonight I voted NO on the proposed ~$1.4M bond for Dutchess Stadium. In this time of fiscal uncertainty and pending the passage of the Federal COVID Relief bill, I felt it was fiscally imprudent to make this commitment when so many of our fellow Dutchess County residents are unable to make ends meet or get a vaccine in a timely manner.
The bond did pass and I hope our financial situation improves and the Federal COVID Relief bill provides enough support to restore our budget.
Just two months ago, the county made significant cuts to fill a projected budget gap in the name of fiscal responsibility. Among those cuts was a 15% to our county health department staff in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that has killed hundreds of our friends, neighbors, and family members here in Dutchess County.
The county has also cut 10% of the Department of Community and Family Services staff, the department responsible for investigating claims of child abuse and supporting families suffering during the economic downturn.
I voted against the budget that made those cuts.
Yet today I was asked to vote in favor of a $1.4 million bond for stadium improvements to help the NY Yankees farm team to play down in Beacon, including nearly $500K for consultants to design millions more in improvements to be voted upon later this year. The total price tag to be around $10 million.
I am not opposed to having the stadium or improving it. I understand the potential upsides – even with the questionable post-COVID projections – that might come to pass. And that maybe it will break even at some point in the future. However, with the Federal COVID relief package still unsigned and any COVID relief for our budget still uncertain, I could not support this expenditure.
It is my hope that whatever passes through Congress will provide enough budget relief for Dutchess County that we can restore our health department to heal our ills, reinvest in our family services to protect our children, and have the financial stability to afford our investment in the county stadium.