Change Address

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DC Legislative District 08

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    Craig Brendli (Dem)

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    Patrick Watson (Rep) Publishing consultant and media producer

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Biographical Information

1. What can the County do to create employment opportunities for County Residents?

2. What can the County do to promote growth in the agriculture sector?

3. Now that the County has taken over the City of Poughkeepsie Bus system, what can be done to address the concerns of the residents for whom access has been reduced?

4. Dutchess County is struggling to find ways of coping with the growing opioid epidemic: how can we improve the effectiveness of current practice? Or, are there any alternative strategies that you feel would be worth considering?

5. How best can the County address the problem that inmate populations exceed the ability of the jail system to adequately house and support them?

6. Cities and towns in Dutchess County have seen a decline in the tax base, while infrastructure ages, and needs repair or replacing. How can the County address this?

7. What needs to be done to improve quality of and access to Mental Health resources for Dutchess County residents?

8. In 2015, 1 in 10 Dutchess County residents was receiving services from DCFS. What can the County do in order to improve upon what Family Services provides for those who rely on these services?

9. Should the County encourage development of alternative energy sources, and if so, what might be the most effective strategies?

The best thing the County can do to help create employment opportunities for County residents is to continue to take steps to reduce the crushing tax burden that is driving residents to leave the County and the State. This includes continuing to reduce property taxes by working with Town, Village, and City governments to identify potential areas where services can be shared, and wasteful, duplicative services eliminated. Other steps the County can take include reducing the sales tax burden by eliminating sales tax on clothing under one-hundred dollars. Moreover, the County can work to reduce unnecessary red tape to help foster a friendlier environment for small businesses and start-ups.
The County should create a specific task force to work with local agriculture businesses to identify potential areas for growth, impediments to growth, and possible strategies to encourage growth in the agriculture sector. The County can also continue to publicize the work of local agriculture through promotion at County fairs and functions.
There are two steps the County can take to improve bus service for Poughkeepsie residents. First, it should increase the number of stops in Poughkeepsie, especially where there are gaps in service. Second, the County needs to continue to work with City of Poughkeepsie officials to better publicize existing routes, including through County and City government websites, improved signage at existing bus stops, and through community outreach targeted for key bus constituencies.
The County needs to continue investing in its mental health services. Over the past two years, we have taken some important steps, including the establishment of the County’s 23-Hour Crisis Stabilization Center, which provides mental health and substance abuse services. We need to continue to invest in these services. As well, we should also continue to work with our police and EMT services to ensure that they have the proper equipment to combat opioid overdoses, including Narcan
The County should continue to invest in alternatives to incarceration. These include investing in youth programs that work to keep students out of trouble. Other alternatives include centralized arraignment and a bond fund. Centralized arraignment helps to reduce the time inmates spend in County jail simply waiting for an arraignment, while a bond fund would help low-level offenders who may be stuck in jail awaiting trial simply because they do not have the means to post bond.
The steps outlined in my response to question one should help to address the County’s declining tax base. Other steps the County can take are to conduct a review of all of its pending infrastructure projects to identify high priority projects. The County should also actively seek Federal and State funding where possible to offset the cost of infrastructure spending. Additionally, the County should consider public-private partnerships to help absorb the costs of infrastructure spending.
The County should continue to invest in efforts such as the 23-Hour Crisis Stabilization Center. As well, we should continue to work with local community groups and activists to help establish better mental health services and programs within Dutchess County
The best way to improve services is to first reach out to those who rely on DCFS and find out from them areas that may need improvement. Those responses can form the basis of any County effort to improve DCFS services.
The County should continue to invest in green energy, such as its recent efforts to purchase electric vehicles and charging stations. The County should work to install more charging stations at County owned parking facilities. Additionally, the County should invest in solar energy by adding solar panels to County-owned properties.
Party Enrollment/Designations Independent Republican Conservative Reform
Experience I have served locally, on the City of Poughkeepsie Charter Review Commission as one of eight appointed Commissioners, on the Poughkeepsie Public Library District Board of Trustees (elected twice), on the Catholic School Network as a Coordinator of the Dutchess and Ulster County Chapter, and was a member of the team that brought the Dutchess Dragon Boat Race & Festival to the Poughkeepsie Waterfront. Business references may be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickjwatson
Utilize our citizens to help cultivate new business opportunities. Provide new graduates access to resources and funds to create and grow new businesses. Develop a Dutchess Business Ambassadors program with industry-leading residents promoting Dutchess County to the world. Embrace small manufacturers in non-tech sector to provide opportunity and training for those who wish to pursue a career in those fields. Cultivate our unique location with businesses looking to expand beyond NYC and other high-rent locations to advocate for Dutchess County as alternative satellite venues for them. Develop collaborative partnerships with NYC-based groups to disseminate info about business incentives, strong economic opportunities and other value propositions that Dutchess County offers. For local residents, provide clear and complete information about what those propositions are could sway new businesses to locate or stay in the area.
Look for additional financial support for the Partnership for Manageable to preserve farm lands. Run agricultural based informational sessions in its urban areas to stimulate interest in the agriculture-based careers. Promote new-tech farming opportunities such as container and hydroponic farming by offering incentives to these businesses to relocate here. Greenhouse growers, vertical farmers, etc. are increasingly locating on outskirts of major metropolises, and bringing numerous jobs/capital to suburban regions. Promote Dutchess County to growers as a location that provides access to CT & NYC. Dedicate outreach to YOUNG farmers. The average age of farmers is climbing. Investment needs to be made to motivate young individuals with space, capital, and resources to enter the agricultural field in Dutchess. Support Partnership for Manageable Growth program to protect farmland and the unique Agriculture Navigator.
Dutchess County DPW needs to continue to meet with community stakeholders and ask for citizen input to ensure routes provide the best service for city residents and address potential areas of concern.

Soliciting ongoing feedback will continue to be a priority as well as having officials ride with patrons to experience the effects of route changes.
The new Stabilization Center can treat immediate concern or incidence of those addicted. This Center diverts people from jail or emergency visits. It helps that affected plan long-term treatment. Support training for first responders and law enforcement officials in Crisis Intervention Maintain participation in the Drug Task Force. Push for more prescription/medication take-back participation at pharmacies. Seek out and evaluate case-studies/resources from places that have made progress on the opioid treatment front.
The new Justice and Transition Center will provide adequate facilities to house the county’s inmates. The Center will work with inmates while incarcerated to cut down on recidivism. The county will save $5.3 annually once we no longer need to house inmates in other county’s facilities. These dollars will be better used to support and expand Dutchess County’s proven alternatives to incarceration programs that divert low-risk offenders from ending up in jail and reduces recidivism for those who are currently incarcerated by helping them with housing and employment once they are released. The County should continue to invest in mental health services and support services offered such as through the new Stabilization Center, that can treat people and provide alternative treatment options for people who might otherwise be on the path towards incarceration.
Dutchess County need to grow investment in better transportation from Stewart Airport to Dutchess, as Stewart increasingly becomes a more international hub, would bring more businesses and people to Dutchess County as an attractive business location The 2017 budget represented the third consecutive decrease in the property tax levy as well as a reduction in the property tax rate. Taxpayer Protection Fund, utilizing some of the county’s fund balance to offset any need for property tax increases. The 2017 budget included $15.25 million for repairs to the county’s roads, bridges and culverts. Continued investment in key growth industries to spur economic development, such as tourism and agriculture. Investments and improvements in the Hudson Valley Regional Airport, through grant funded projects such as improving the terminal building, fire safety upgrades, and a new water line connection will enhance operations and the potential for new economic development.
The County needs to continue to invest in and support the mental health initiatives started with the New Justice and Transition Center. This will allow more programs to be available to inmates struggling with mental health problems, getting them treatment they need-here in their own County and through the Stabilization Center. The Stabilization Center which offers mental health assessments and links to providers, to prevent our citizens from further harming themselves or others in our community. The County should evaluate in the future dollars allocated to such programs as the Mental Health First Aid training or the Fire Starter program included in the 2012 budget. Expansion of these programs and expenditures for public outreach and education will help reduce and remove the stigma on mental health with forums. The County should be restoring beds at a local facility for those individuals who need inpatient treatment when in crisis, both for adults and juveniles.
Services are mostly dictated from the state level; the county will continue to effectively serve the residents who rely on any of these programs.
Yes, it should. The County should look to utilize existing resources such as our waterways (streams, creeks, and river) for hydro, open roadway spaces for solar and when practical use geo when available In 2017, the legislature unanimously passed a resolution to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the county. We should continue to assess this use in the county with a goal to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Add to the four Nissan Leaf electric cars in the county fleet, including the addition of four charging stations that will be available for public use. The County should look to replace more county vehicles in the future. The County should provide incentives for County employees to use the bus services. The County should encourage more pedestrian and cycling to work by ensuring safe marked roadways. Support further expansion of a resolution that would exempt solar energy and solar equipment from the county’s sales tax.

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