Budget, Finance & Personnel Committee Reviews Department of Public Works
Oversees Airport Enterprise, Buildings, Highway & Parks
Poughkeepsie, NY- The Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for the administration, construction, maintenance, supervision, repair, alteration, and care of all buildings, highways, bridges, parking lots, county parks, and any other Public Works’ facilities under the county purview. The Department is also responsible for the supervision of the design and construction of all capital projects in the county five-year Capital Improvement Program. Public Works oversees the operation and maintenance of 186 County owned or leased buildings totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet to insure the safety and comfort of all county employees and visitors to the County’s facilities. Additionally, the highway division maintains 396 centerline miles of highway throughout Dutchess County that includes 165 bridges and 183 large culvert structures.
The Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee of the Legislature conducted its review following a presentation by the departments’ Commissioner Noel Knille. Mandated programs under the direction of the Department of Public Works include determining compliance with Federal and State MS4 regulations, conducting bridge flag investigations, performing dam safety inspections, and issuing highway work permits per New York State Highway Law Section 136. All other programs are considered discretionary. These discretionary programs include operating the Dutchess County Airport, providing for the six county parks, maintaining a fleet of 470 vehicles, as well as maintaining highways, bridges, and buildings.
In 2014, $5,764,305 was appropriated to the department with $440,000 in projected revenue. These assets includes the airport, which is inspected and certified annually by the FAA and is home to our local Civil Air Patrol (UAF) unit, serves as a substation for Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement agencies, a fueling and base for military operations, and houses the Dutchess Community College Aviation Program under the Westfield Flight Academy. Our six county parks offer recreational opportunities and contribute to Dutchess County as a major tourism destination.
Chairman of the Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee Dale Borchert stated, “Our review shows that the Department of Public Works is a fine example of where the county can act as an agency for cooperation and provide for shared services with other municipalities.” The Highway and Bridge Maintenance Division is vital to the quality of life in Dutchess County and crucial for public safety. Infrastructure demands ongoing maintenance, repair, and replacement. The New York State Department of Transportation provides support for projects at 90% through its capital funding program. Shared services between municipalities are currently being utilized in the towns of Pawling and North East for snow removal of 96 centerline miles; however, the expansion of shared services should be considered and encouraged.
Chairman of the Legislature Rob Rolison stated, “During this budget review process the Legislature will continue to assess the level of services provided by the Department of Public Works and other county departments. The Legislature has the responsibility to see that all county taxpayer dollars are used in the most fiscally responsible manner and to ensure that critical and efficient services are provided by Dutchess County Government.”