March 11 – Dutchess County Legislature Meeting

The meeting centered on reports from several legislative committees.  Indeed, at the end of the meeting, Chairman Pruitt saw the number of reports as “a testament to how hard everyone’s been working and getting involved in their committee.”

Legislator McHoul began by reporting that the Board of Health announced a health fair to take place on Saturday, April13, from 11:00am to 2:00pm at Dutchess Community College’s Falcon Hall.  There will be information sessions and activities, including activities for children.

Legislator Faust attended a Criminal Justice Council meeting on Feb. 20.  Among the matters discussed were:
  • various ways to increase diversity in the law enforcement workforce
  • recognizing the elevated risk of physical and mental health issues among law enforcement and supporting officer wellness
  • the hiring of Melissa Lawlor as Deputy Coordinator for Response for Mental Health and Wellness,
  • and that, as a result of a body worn camera initiative funded by the Legislature last year, some 316 cameras were given to police in the city and town of Poughkeepsie, the towns of East Fishkill and Hyde Park, villages of Wappingers Falls and Fishkill, and the county Sheriff’s Office.

Legislator Drago publicized the Pine Plains FFA’s 30th Annual Farm Toy Show to be held at Stissing Mountain Middle and High School from 9:00am to @:pm on March 16. Legislator Garito described the work of the Citizen’s Committee on Domestic Violence as it relates to the recent funding of cell phones for police officers responding to domestic violence reports. She explained that the cost of the phones is significantly higher than the amount previously quoted, and, therefore, the funding is inadequate.

Legislator Atkins brought attention to a prior resolution involving support for a Shelter and sought legal advice as to when that support ends; if it is this summer, Legislator Atkins urged extension because much work still needs to be done. Legislator Caswell reviewed the work he’s been doing to support Dutchess Community College — including a week in Washington meeting with local Congressmen and Senators, and agencies — to increase funding and grant opportunities.  He praised the leadership of DCC’s President, Dr. Peter Grant Jordan. 

Chairman Truitt added that work with DCC has already begun to prepare for next year’s budget. Chairman Truitt then turned to the consent agenda.  Twelve resolutions were unanimously approved.  They involved:
  • appointments and reappointments to the Traffic Safety Board, the Mental Hygiene Advisory Board, the County Board of Health, and the Veterans Affairs Committee
  • amendments to the budget in relation to the District Attorney Office and Sheriff’s Office
  • declaring Dutchess County lead agency for the County consolidated two way radio Communications System Project
  • establishing new authorized petty cash balances for various county departments
  • authorizations of easements for culvert pipe replacement projects; and
  • authorizing the issuance of a bond to pay the preliminary expenses for exterior building improvements at 45 Market Street.

Majority Leader Houston urged colleagues to sign a letter in support of proposed state legislation giving both property and income tax credits to volunteer firefighters and EMS workers.


Legislator Drago thanked Sara Ugolini, who was present, for her service on the Mental Hygiene Advisory Board, and encouraged others to participate (as he recently had) in a certified Dutchess “tourism ambassadors” training program; the next one is on March 19 at the FDR Museum.  Leigslator Polasek seconded that encouragement.

Lastly, a member of the public spoke about harassment he said he had endured as a student in Pittsburgh and that, he asserted, followed him to Dutchess County, and his inability to obtain help from local police and health officials. He made a plea for some type of task force to investigate.