via Mid Hudson News, 1/17/2012
POUGHKEEPSIE – Mayor John Tkazyik said embracing diversity is what the new city government in Poughkeepsie is all about. The mayor began his annual State of the City message with particular praise for the new council chairwoman, Democrat Gwen Johnson, noting she is the first woman, and first African-American in city history to hold that post.
“I am encouraged by the welcoming statements of Council-Chair Johnson at the reorganizational meeting and I’m optimistic this Common Council will work towards the betterment of the city.
On key issues putting pressure on Poughkeepsie, Tkazyik said weather was a top priority.
“Extreme weather events besieged the City of Poughkeepsie and presented serious challenges to the Public Works Department. Over 76 inches of total precipitation was recorded in various forms whereas the normal amount of precipitation for this area is 46 inches. “Our DPW labor force repeatedly worked around the clock to address damages from the various storms.”
The mayor noted the costly impact of storms came on top of “…the worst economic and financial conditions in generations …”
Expanding the tax base will remain a top priority of his administration, said Tkazyik.
“Otherwise, the burden on remaining taxpayers will increase and more homeowners could abandon their properties, creating a mortgage default spiral in our community that win be difficult to pull-out of.”
Specifics include getting vacant properties, including the Hoffman House and Reynolds House, back on the tax rolls. The mayor also hopes to work closely with Dutchess County’s new county executive, Marcus Molinaro and the county legislature to generate a plan for the blighted section of Market Street. The partnership will also include addressing mass transit.
On law enforcement, Tkazyik had particular praise for the Police Department, stunned by the death in the line of duty, of detective John Falcone, early in 2011.
“In the face of all these difficulties, police department personnel have performed admirably, while first working through the death of Detective Falcone and then with a diminished workforce.”
Tkazyik wrapped up his annual message on an optimistic note.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Poughkeepsie remains on the move, Poughkeepsie remains a beacon of hope and Poughkeepsie has set the trend for other cities to follow. I haven’t done this alone; it is through partnerships and strong relationships that we have accomplished this together.”