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County Executive Neuhaus proposes 2018 Orange County budget

Plan reduces County tax rate for second year in a row

Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus released his proposed $752 million operating budget for fiscal year 2018 on Friday.

“I’m proud of the work that we have done over the last four years to turn Orange County around,” Neuhaus said. “We have negotiated union contracts, completed long overdue projects, reduced the workforce and kept taxes under control, all while improving services to County residents. I’m extremely proud of this budget and the hard work and dedication exhibited by County employees each and every day.”

Neuhaus delivered his budget presentation at the newly constructed Orange County Government Center’s Legislative Chamber in front of members of the County Legislature and County Judiciary system, County employees, representatives of the business community and the public.

“It was an honor to deliver the budget address at the rehabilitated Government Center, which was a goal that I set last year,” Neuhaus said. “I look forward to the Government Center being completed in the coming weeks on time and on budget and once again having County government under one roof.”

Added Chairman of the Legislature Steve Brescia: “County Executive Neuhaus continues to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of government while expanding services. It has been a pleasure working cooperatively with him and the Legislature, developing a budget that works for all residents. This budget is disciplined and fiscally responsible. I commend County Executive Neuhaus and all who worked on this budget.”

Highlights of the 2018 proposed budget include:

  • The County property tax rate is expected to decrease for the second year in a row; the proposed 2018 tax rate is lower than the 2014 tax rate and the lowest in five years.
  • The Office of the State Comptroller this week removed the designation of “susceptible to fiscal stress” from Orange County, confirming that the fiscal health of the County has much improved under County Executive Neuhaus.
  • The County’s unassigned fund balance has increased to $43.7 million, more than doubling since 2013.
  • The County’s early retirement incentive, introduced by County Executive Neuhaus in 2014, has saved approximately $15 million without sacrificing services to residents.
  • Sales tax revenue has increased $9.5 million since 2014, which has benefited municipalities throughout the County.
  • The County’s investment in tourism has paid off as hotel/motel taxes have increased 18 percent over the last three years.
  • Temporary assistance cases in Orange County have dropped by 18 percent; Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) cases have decreased by 12 percent.
  • The number of residents employed in Orange County has increased from 168,500 in 2014 to 174,400 this year, dropping the unemployment rate 6.4 percent to 4.6 percent.
  • Approximately 5,000 jobs have been created in Orange County in the past four years.
  • The County’s fund balance has been restored to levels recommended by the State Comptroller’s Office.
  • Orange County Airport, which once lost money, no longer requires taxpayer subsidies due to reduced costs and expanded opportunities for local aircraft and corporations.

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CSEA endorses Steve Neuhaus in Orange County Executive race

 September 25, 2017

GOSHEN – CSEA, the largest union representing Orange County employees, today announced the union’s endorsement of Steve Neuhaus in the race for County Executive.

         The endorsement comes via the union’s Southern Region Political Action Committee upon recommendation from both CSEA’s Orange County Unit 7900 (representing county workers) and Orange County Local 836 (representing public employees in municipalities and school districts across the county).

         In announcing the endorsement, CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo cited the record of successful collaboration that has been developed over the county executive’s first term.

         “Steve has worked collaboratively with CSEA, which has  allowed him to find cost savings for taxpayers while respecting our workforce and preserving county services,” Riccaldo said. “We look forward to further building that relationship over the next four years.”

         “A strong labor-management relationship benefits our entire county,” said CSEA Orange County Local President Glen Arnold. “Steve’s ability to collaborate with CSEA and willingness to listen to our concerns has helped us improve worker morale.”

         “Steve has had an open door policy over the past four years, which has allowed us to work together on problem-solving, and finding solutions that are acceptable to the workforce and taxpayers,” said CSEA Orange County Unit President Rosemarie Kukys, a registered nurse working at the Valley View nursing home.  “We appreciate that he understands that everyone benefits when the union and management can work together.”

         “I am honored to have the endorsement of CSEA,” Neuhaus said.  “I am very pleased that we have been able to both reduce spending and settle all union contracts.  Fairness to residents, taxpayers, and our workforce is important.”

                CSEA members do vital work across Orange County. Members of the CSEA county workforce safeguard vulnerable children and adults, care for the residents of the Valley View nursing home, answer emergency 911 calls, maintain our county roads, and much more. Members of other CSEA bargaining units across the county provide the student, clerical and maintenance support that keeps our schools running. They also work in our cities, towns and villages to maintain roads and infrastructure, provide clerical support, work with emergency services, and operate waste and wastewater treatment plants, among other things.

CSEA, the Civil Service Employees Association, is Local 1000 of AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which in turn is one of the largest affiliates of the AFL-CIO.

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Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club presents Neuhaus with Defender of Freedom Lifetime Achievement Award

County Executive recognized for his service and dedication to sportsmen and women across the state

September 12, 2017

Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus was honored with the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club’s Defender of Freedom Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, Sept. 9th at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.

Neuhaus, an avid hunter and fisherman, was recognized for his countless years of visionary guidance, distinguished service and devotion to the Sportsmen and Women of New York State, as an essential planner in defending the rights of law-abiding citizens and promoting outdoor education for smart growth and intelligent development of our community. Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler presented Neuhaus with the award at the Sportsmen’s Club’s annual dinner.

Neuhaus and Hoovler were joined at the dinner by Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois and County Clerk Annie Rabbitt.

“I am honored to receive this recognition and will continue to do all I can to educate the public about the many contributions made by the Sportsmen’s Club. Fees generated by responsible members of the sporting community provide funds that manage wildlife and support conservation efforts across the state. I appreciate the important role they play in Orange County and I look forward to working with the Sportsmen’s Club for many years.”

Sportsmen and sportswomen have been meeting in Orange County since the 1940s, according to Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club President Jim Torcivia. The club was formally incorporated in 1958 and through the years it has grown to 10,000 members comprised of 24 different clubs and lodges. During that time, it has added a variety of events and programs. The Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Club has played a major role in increasing all types of outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, by making new land available and working to prevent the loss of public access to land and water.

“Steve is a class act and is doing great things for the people of Orange County,” Torcivia said. “He understands that responsible sportsmen are an integral part of the conservation movement and we are stewards of the environment.”

 

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County Executive Neuhaus highlights accomplishments of past year in 2017 State of the County Address

County’s finances are strong and administration is focused on bright future

Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus delivered his fourth State of the County address to a large audience on Thursday night at the Emergency Services Center auditorium.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus at the State of the County AddressThe address highlighted several accomplishments of the past year, as well as the County’s vision for the future.

Neuhaus was introduced on Thursday night by Ed Harrison, the General Manager of Stewart International Airport.

“Orange County has cut spending, reduced the County tax rate, and worked to invigorate the private sector,” Neuhaus said. “Our real estate market is growing and there are significant investments being made. The State of our County is strong and the future is looking bright for our residents. I’m proud of all that my administration and the Legislature have accomplished working collaboratively over the past year.”

Added Steve Brescia, Chairman of the Orange County Legislature: “It has been a pleasure working with County Executive Neuhaus and his team over the past year. Together, we have made the tough choices to turn Orange County around. We have made Orange County a place where business is welcome and our residents have access to good-paying jobs and a wonderful quality of life. County Executive Neuhaus understands that healthy communities need economic vitality. I look forward to continuing the momentum that we have right now in Orange County.”

Accomplishments highlighted in the State of the County address include:

  •         Citing the leadership of County Executive Neuhaus, Moody’s removed the Negative Outlook on Orange County’s finances and revised it to show stable finances in September of 2016
  •         The popular Heritage Trail is under expansion into both the City of Middletown and the Village of Harriman  
  •         Neuhaus helped negotiate the agreement which brought Norwegian Airlines to Stewart International Airport
  •         The Neuhaus administration successfully reduced the cost of County government through successful retirement incentive programs
  •         According to State Department of Labor statistics, Orange County unemployment is down from 6.4 percent to 4.8 percent,
  •         Neuhaus’ efforts have doubled the County’s unassigned fund balance
  •         The County generated $1.8 million via a deed sale held last month, more than tripling the total of the County’s last auction in 2012 ($527,700)
  •         Traffic on the County’s redesigned Tourism website has doubled in the past two years
  •         Hotel/motel tax revenue increased nine percent from 2015 ($3.2 million) to 2016 ($3.498 million)
  •         Neuhaus signed a water agreement with the City of Middletown to develop the County’s Indigot properties to promote economic development, particularly along the 17M Corridor. This will lead to significant revenue for the City of Middletown and has fast tracked the Amy’s Kitchen project

New initiatives proposed by Neuhaus include:

  •         Neuhaus signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BOCES to develop a Trade Union School in Newburgh through Orange-Ulster BOCES
  •         Neuhaus announced that the Sullivan County casino, which will open in March 2018, will partner with Orange County to train more than 600 new workers at a Table Games Training School for good-paying positions at the resort. The casino development will create 2,200 total jobs
  •         The County will work in cooperation with SUNY Orange to bring new college classrooms to Port Jervis
  •         Neuhaus signed the revised Sanitary Code, which will enable the County to enforce health code related violations in cooperation with localities

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or jrodriguez@orangecountygov.com.