Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus delivered his State of the County address to a large audience on Wednesday, May 25th at the Emergency Services Center auditorium.
The address highlighted several accomplishments in the past year, as well as new initiatives, including a proposal to clean up the former Camp LaGuardia in the Towns of Chester and Blooming Grove and turn it into a County Park for generations to enjoy.
Neuhaus was introduced by Senator Mike Martucci.
“County finances are strong, and one of my top goals continues to be to maintain and improve property values, a major barometer of our local economic strength,” Neuhaus said. “We do that by enhancing the manufacturing, tourism, and transportation sectors of our County. Strengthening those areas, along with supporting our strong local schools and quality healthcare, will help to maintain and even increase property values in Orange County.”
Neuhaus plans to continue his focus on economic development and tourism, and public safety, as well as working to strengthen the County’s infrastructure.
“Orange County is moving forward in a positive way and the government has been well-run by County Executive Neuhaus,” said Katie Bonelli, Chairwoman of the Orange County Legislature. “Our County is extraordinarily strong and poised for continued economic success. The Legislature and I look forward to continuing our positive partnership that results in gains for our residents.”
Accomplishments highlighted in the State of the County address include:
- The County tax rate has dropped six consecutive years and is currently $3.434 in 2022.
- The property tax rate has decreased 11.5 percent since 2014.
- The County’s unaudited fund balance was $118.7 million in 2021 (an increase of $68.1 million). The County’s fund balance was $21.1 million in 2013.
- Property values continue to rise.
- The County generated $5.1 million in hotel/motel tax in 2021.
- Since 2014, County debt has been reduced by $12 million, despite spending $75 million on the Government Center and $20 million on Public Safety Communications upgrades. The County has saved $12.3 million by refinancing bonds since 2015, taking advantage of low interest rates.
- The Heritage Trail has been extended another mile from Palmer Avenue in the City of Middletown to East Main Street and now runs approximately 19.5 miles from Harriman to Middletown. About nine miles of the trail was completed in 2014.
- The County successfully initiated a sale of unused County property in the City of Newburgh which will create a transformative boutique hotel/shopping experience and bring people into downtown Newburgh and Orange County.
- The County is supporting efforts by Resorts World casino to repurpose and revitalize the Newburgh Mall.
Other new initiatives announced by Neuhaus included:
- Orange County Health and Emergency Services will be hosting free mobile CPR clinics.
- The County Executive introduced the Four Seasons Campaign, which will include a $1 million investment into Tourism during the spring, summer, fall, and winter.
- The new state-of-the-art, 18,175-square-foot Medical Examiner’s Office is set to be completed by the end of 2023. Amenities include dignified public entrance and waiting area, family viewing room, autopsy room and isolation autopsy room. At least $17 million of funding will come from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- Economic Development will work even more closely with the business community, providing education and training opportunities about governmental approvals and permits.
- The County Executive’s Economic Summit will be held in the fall, bringing together key stakeholders, elected officials, community leaders and the business community to discuss issues such as tourism, the workforce and infrastructure and open space, trends, and the future of economic growth.
For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.