New districts lines are out. For details visit:
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give feedback and comments to the Mid Hudson Economic Regional Council. You can find their draft report at:
Sponsored by: The Times Herald Record, Change Newburgh, Mothers Others for a Better Newburgh.
Join us for a candidate’s forum with endorsed Republican Democratic candidates for Mayor and City Council. Learn more about their proposed strategies for revitalizing Newburgh and addressing the City’s on-going fiscal crisis.
When: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 7:00pm
Where: Great Room, Kaplan Hall, SUNY Orange (corner of First and Grand Streets in the heart of the City of Newburgh)
Invited mayoral candidates include:
Councilperson Christine Bello Judith Kennedy
Invited council candidates include:
Mr. Cedric Brown, Mr. John Guidice, Ms. Gay Lee, and Mr. John Penney.
Free parking is available in the garage under Kaplan Hall, accessible from First Street across from the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
For additional information, please contact Karen Mejia or Merridith Ingram at firstname.lastname@example.org
(iPhone users click here)
How can you help Change Newburgh? Here are 3 Ways for you to Get Involved:
1. Call our Elected Officials in Albany, and tell them its time for Albany to Step in Now. Tell them:
“The City of Newburgh needs Albany’s help. We support Senator Larkin’s proposal for a Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC). In addition to a MAC, Newburgh needs a strong Financial Control Board in order to provide more direct oversight of the city’s budget, finances operations. Together, a MAC and a Financial Control Board will provide the financial aid and oversight necessary to get Newburgh back on the right track.”
Senator Larkin: (518) 455-2770,
Assemblyman Kirwan: (845) 562-0888 / (518) 455-5762
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo: (518) 474-8390
2. Tell City Hall You’ve Had Enough. Call the Mayor and the City Council and tell them:
“Dear Mayor and City Council,
I’m a Newburgh citizen and I can not afford any additional tax increases. Newburgh’s residents and businesses are suffering as a result of the 71% tax increase the City Council approved last year. The City can not continue to balance its budget on the backs of its hardworking residents.
It’s time to pass a local ordinance to cap all future tax increases. As my local elected official, I ask that you introduce and pass a local property tax cap this year.”
Here’s a list of people to call or email with the above message
(You can cut and paste the above into your email):
Mayor Nick Vallentine: (845) 569-7300 email@example.com
City Council Member Regina Angelo:
(845) 569-7300 firstname.lastname@example.org
City Council Member Curlie Dillard:
(845) 569-7300 email@example.com
City Council Member Christine Bello:
(845) 569-7300 firstname.lastname@example.org
City Council Member Marge Bell:
(845) 569-7300 email@example.com
3. Make a Donation.
We can’t Change Newburgh alone. Please make a donation and help us
to continue to make Newburgh’s voices heard in Albany. Funds will be
used for mailings, website maintenance, video and sign production.
Or, mail your check (made out to “Change Newburgh”) to:
P.O. Box 269
Newburgh, NY 12551
Want a free lawn sign to put on your lawn and show support? Email
your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org with “SEND ME A LAWN SIGN” in the subject line. We’ll get back to you and drop off a
free lawn sign to display in front of your home!
4. Need Additional Information on why Newburgh needs Albany? Click here for 7 reasons why we believe Newburgh needs receivership now.
The Times Herald Record published an Op Ed response to CN’s Video Letter To Albany. Here’s CN’s response to the THR:
It’s a shame that the Times Herald Record, the paper of record for the Hudson Valley, has so little understanding of the problems of Newburgh as to write such an ill-informed and wrong-headed editorial as it did on Friday. If the paper had been paying attention, it would know that the last two budgets were balanced on the backs of tax increases that are so massive as to garner front-page coverage in these very pages. These tax increases are directly responsible for further depreciating valuations of property within the city, which will require taxes to go up even higher and services to be cut even further. Or, in the words of Newburgh City Manager Rick Herbeck, relying on tax increases alone to balance the budget “can only contribute to an ongoing downward spiral in its community and financial stability from which the city may never be able to recover.”
In other words, having a budget that is ‘balanced’ is not necessarily equivalent to having a budget that is a ‘reflection of reality’.
While having an historical perspective is sometimes useful, it cannot be applied in a vacuum. Has the state taken such proactive action with a municipality in the past? No. Does that mean it shouldn’t now? Again, no. The call for New York State to step in now is an effort by the citizens of Newburgh to keep the city from defaulting on a future bond payment or, worse, having to declare bankruptcy. Both are potential consequences from an ‘unsustainable’ budget. Either situation would not only be disastrous for the city, but also for the surrounding region and the state as a whole. There would be a contagion effect that would result in a rise of interest rates for new financing throughout the state. Why? Because the state would have proved that it isn’t willing to make the hard decisions necessary to protect lenders to NY municipalities.
Before calling for the state to step in, Change Newburgh initially requested that the New York State Comptroller, in his position as ‘overseer’ of the city’s budget, reject the most recent multi-year budget. That budget doesn’t satisfy ‘actions necessary to achieve and maintain long-term fiscal stability’ according to the Newburgh Fiscal Recovery Act (NFRA). The Comptroller’s response to Change Newburgh’s request was that “…neither NFRA nor the Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) program currently provides the Office of the State Comptroller with the authority to approve the City’s multiyear financial plan.” So you are dead wrong when you wrote that the state is making ‘sure that the city government does what it said it would.’ The state denies that it currently has the authority or responsibility to compel the city to make the necessary changes that could put it on the path to long-term fiscal solvency.
A temporary situation where the state steps in and exercises more robust oversight of the city’s finances is not the only solution to Newburgh’s ailments. Of course it isn’t. And the good people who marched on City Hall this week don’t believe that is the case either. To imply such is misleading at best. Any solution will require a complete overhaul of how the city is structured, elects its leaders, hires its staff and manages it’s resources. It will require making absentee landlords play their part in the effort and getting out of the way when people are making a good-faith effort to help improve the city with their own funds. It’ll require the city to give the police, firefighters, DPW workers and codes department the support they need to do the important jobs they have. It’ll also require its citizens to be active participants in the effort. This week’s activities prove the citizens are willing to do their part.
Some of this can be done by electing competent leadership, but that in and of itself will not be enough. We are facing a mountain of problems built upon generations worth of mismanagement, bad decisions and bad luck. Not just by the city itself, but also by the county and the state. The problem is bigger than the city can overcome on its own and the consequences of not solving these problems will have consequences beyond Newburgh. ‘Electing leaders who will do their best in a bad situation’ is not a solution to the problem. Fiddling while Rome burns is not enough. The music might be nice, but the city will still be in ashes when the song ends.