Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus announces that Commissioner of Planning David Church will retire effective late January of 2020. Church has served as Orange County’s Commissioner of Planning for nearly 17 years.
“I have been honored to serve the public with a wonderful and rewarding career here in Orange County and before that in Albany,” Church said. “I feel that now is the right time for me to retire from public service here in Orange County. I would like to thank all of the men and women that I’ve had the privilege to work with both in the County and throughout the community during my career. They are all part of the pleasure of this work.”
A trained geologist, Church began his tenure with Orange County in May of 2002. He previously served as the Executive Director of the New York Planning Federation, and worked as well with the World Wildlife Fund/Conservation Foundation. Earlier in his career, Church was partner with an environmental consulting firm.
As the Commissioner of Planning, Church oversaw the Orange County Water Authority (OCWA), Orange County Transportation Council (OCTC) and the County’s Grants Unit. Some of Church’s highlights during his tenure include securing more than $20 million in state and federal grants for the County, modernizing the OCWA and OCTC, and revitalizing the Planning Department to a full staff of nearly 25.
Church also was charged with developing Orange County’s comprehensive plan, a detailed assessment of transportation assets and deficits that will provide guidance across County government in defining priorities and allocating funds. He played an integral role in expanding bus services in the City of Newburgh, bringing Coach USA’s headquarters to Chester, reintroducing ferry service between Newburgh and Beacon, and making all Park and Rides commuter bus stops free in Orange County. Church also led several conservation projects, including the purchase of the Sparrowbush Delaware River access site, which protects thousands of acres in the County.
In addition, Church worked closely with County Executive Neuhaus to develop the County’s Shared Services Plan, which saved County taxpayers an estimated $8 million in 2019. Introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Shared Services Initiative is designed to generate property tax savings by encouraging collaboration between local governments.