Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus delivered his fifth State of the County address on Wed., Apr. 11 to a large audience at the Emergency Services Center auditorium. He highlighted several accomplishments of the past year, as well as his vision for the future.
Neuhaus was introduced by Town of Montgomery and Village of Maybrook Police Chief Arnold “Butch” Amthor. Amthor was shot in the upper left shoulder last May while responding to a domestic altercation in the Town of Montgomery.
“I am very glad to report that Orange County is continuing on the path to fiscal security and economic vitality,” Neuhaus said. “My administration has worked hard and been very progressive which has resulted in a healthy economy and a renewed spirt of optimism. Orange County is stronger than ever and I will continue to work with Chairman Brescia and the Legislature, our County Departments and the business community to ensure that this positive progress continues.”
Accomplishments highlighted in the State of the County address include:
- Moody’s Investors Service recently recognized Orange County for sharing $3.8 million in additional sales tax surplus received for fiscal year 2017 with its municipalities. The County’s sales tax revenue rose by more than $15 million in 2017 to $280.5 million, an increase of more than five percent from 2016.
- The Government Center, which has centralized services, increased efficiencies and provided convenience to residents, has reopened on time.
- The County has evolved into a leader in New York in terms of tourism and economic development success. The creation of a full-time Director of Economic Development and a Director of Tourism positions will enhance these efforts and continue to grow the economy.
- Neuhaus’ efforts have doubled the County’s unassigned fund balance.
- To date, 646 residents have utilized the new Orange-Ulster BOCES Adult Education Learning Center in Newburgh for Adult Basic Education, Health Career Training and English as a second language classes.
- The arrival of Norwegian Air to Stewart International Airport in Newburgh is expected to create an estimated 230 jobs. Passenger volume is up 63 percent from 2016 to 2017 and continues to grow.
- The popular Heritage Trail has expanded to the Village of Harriman and is under expansion to the City of Middletown.
- The County has launched a public forum on cyberbullying and sexting to guide students, parents, educators, and law enforcement in addressing this issue.
- The County has developed the Green Star Schools Recycling Program which is being implemented throughout the County. A $500,000 grant from the State has enabled the County to develop a food waste composing facility.
- The Neuhaus administration has reduced the cost of County government through successful retirement incentive programs.
- Property values are on the rise.
New initiatives proposed by Neuhaus include:
- The County Executive will introduce a program to develop labor/trade apprenticeship requirements for all publicly financed projects.
- County Executive Neuhaus will sign an Executive Order that will make compliance with 239-M and SEQRA a mandate prior to issuing County permits.
- The County will work in cooperation with the community’s major medical providers to focus on specific health areas in order to reduce costs and promote the health of residents.
- The County Executive urged the County Legislature to sell Camp LaGuardia, which only the Legislature has the authority to do under law.
- The formation of the Orange County School Security Association which will assist school districts in developing their safety plans.