Thursday, April 20, 2017

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Poughkeepsie to keep its buses through end of this year

POUGHKEEPSIE – Some found money was enough for a simple majority of Poughkeepsie Council members to defy the mayor and extend city operation of its buses through the end of 2017.

Mayor Robert Rolison had included in his 2017 budget only enough funding to maintain the city buses through the end of June. They would then be handed over to the Dutchess County LOOP system.

There was what has become the usual hour or more of public pleading, at the start of the meeting, for the city to do at least what it ended up doing last night.

Council Chairwoman Natasha Cherry, who introduced the resolution to amend the city budget, said this gives them some breathing room to work on a long-term solution.

“To give us six additional months to do our due diligence, to investigate routes, to ride the buses,” Cherry said. “I’m hoping I can ride the buses with the mayor. Someone suggested that to me, ‘Why don’t you and the mayor ride the city routes together, talk to people, get to know.’ That’s something I really want to do.”

No response from the mayor Wednesday night about the shared ride suggestion.   

The extension resolution passed 5 to 3 with ‘no’ votes from Republican Lee Klein, and Democrats Matthew McNamara and Mike Young. The extension resolution passed 5 to 3 with ‘no’ votes from Republican Lee Klein, and Democrats Matthew McNamara and Mike Young.  Six votes would be needed to override a possible mayoral veto.

A related resolution, to accept a $315,000 Local Government Efficiency Program grant to study “Dutchess County Bus Service Expansion,” was tabled.

While most council members said they would welcome the money, which does not have to be paid back, there was concern over the wording. City Administrator Deborah McDonnell said there is wide latitude on how that money could be used and would not lock the city into supporting a merger with the county.

That resolution likely will be back on the agenda in two weeks.

 


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