Op-Ed

Operator must do better by Dutchess County Airport

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Dutchess County Airport is second busiest General Aviation (GA) airport in New York State, logging approximately 75,000 aircraft landings and take offs each year, including corporate aviation, charter operators, recreational fliers and business aircraft owners.  The airport brings Dutchess County over 60 million dollars in economic activity each year

Six months ago, the county sought a partner who could help us move forward with our efforts to increase the economic benefit of the Airport. The County contracted with Flight Level Aviation in that regard.  Since then, fuel prices have risen despite their promise to keep them low and knowing very well fuel costs affect the airports viability. Last month, the County Legislature approved a proposal by the County Executive and FlightLevel Aviation (the new fixed base operator) to reduce their hours.

While I agree that there is “insufficient activity after 8pm” at the airport – there will never be an increase in activity after 8pm unless the FBO is open to accept aircraft. This is a self-defeating proposal.  I was, however, willing to compromise with having the FBO close early during the winter months only, and if they had a problem in the spring, summer or fall, they could come back to us so we can discuss it further.  That amendment failed.

FlightLevel Aviation was brought here to improve the airport and the services offered.  By saying that in the past there has been little traffic after a certain hour – they are pretty much offering only to maintain the status quo or less.   Reducing the total number of hours that Dutchess County Airport’s FBO is open to both based and transient clients is inconsistent with the County’s stated objectives and asking operators to pay for off-hours services after 7:00 pm will make KPOU less competitive and desirable relative to other local airports for business aviation operators.

The county executive said if there’s an increase in demand, FlightLevel will make the necessary changes to meet those needs. How will we ever know if that demand increases, when the FBO is closed and aircraft avoid our airport?

I understand having FlightLevel Aviation is important to the success of the airport.  However, they signed a contract – in which they clearly knew what the circumstances were – and now so soon trying to change it. They raised the fuel prices and now their changing their hours.  Changes in fuel prices have everything to do with this resolution because it has to do with change no one expected.  What will they change next? Reducing the minimum operating standards is not something I feel is in the best long term interest of the airport.  This sets a bad precedent.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Thanksgiving 3

Today, we come together with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. We treasure these occasions that bring us together and remind us of what’s truly important.

It is my hope that as we celebrate Thanksgiving, each of us can reflect on how we can give back to help those in need.

I wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving my family to yours!

Amparo stood up for homeowners fighting FEMA

Vote-Amparo

Please read a Letter to the Editor regarding my work as County Legislator.

Many events have happened over the last year. However, one of the most important events that occurred was that my neighbors and I fought with the Town of Wappingerand Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding flood insurance policies that we were mandated to take on our homes.

We have been fighting this uphill battle for over a year, using our own money to prove our case. With considerable assistance from Dutchess County Legislator Francena Amparo, we finally won and we no longer have to pay flood insurance in the community of Cloverdale Place, All Angels Hill Road and Carrol Drive.

Unfortunately, we only have one homeowner out of the eight families that has yet to be taken out of the flood zone. Whenever we had a meeting, Francena was there to lend support. Whenever we needed an answer of where we stood and what we thought our next plan of operation would be, Francena was there. Whenever we had a town meeting regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the new letter of map revision that we needed, Francena attended these meetings.

I eagerly beg the residents of Wappingers Falls to re-elect Francena Amparo as our county legislator. She has done an impeccable job, is a person that cares for the people that live in her town and the surrounding areas, and she comes to bat for us when we need it. Vote Amparo!

Diane Loehr
Wappingers Falls

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/2015/10/23/letters-editor/74473454/

 

Amparo stood up for homeowners fighting FEMA

Vote-Amparo

Please read a Letter to the Editor regarding my work as County Legislator.

Many events have happened over the last year. However, one of the most important events that occurred was that my neighbors and I fought with the Town of Wappingerand Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding flood insurance policies that we were mandated to take on our homes.

We have been fighting this uphill battle for over a year, using our own money to prove our case. With considerable assistance from Dutchess County Legislator Francena Amparo, we finally won and we no longer have to pay flood insurance in the community of Cloverdale Place, All Angels Hill Road and Carrol Drive.

Unfortunately, we only have one homeowner out of the eight families that has yet to be taken out of the flood zone. Whenever we had a meeting, Francena was there to lend support. Whenever we needed an answer of where we stood and what we thought our next plan of operation would be, Francena was there. Whenever we had a town meeting regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the new letter of map revision that we needed, Francena attended these meetings.

I eagerly beg the residents of Wappingers Falls to re-elect Francena Amparo as our county legislator. She has done an impeccable job, is a person that cares for the people that live in her town and the surrounding areas, and she comes to bat for us when we need it. Vote Amparo!

Diane Loehr
Wappingers Falls

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/2015/10/23/letters-editor/74473454/

 

Democratic Legislators re: County Budget — Facts Obscured & Misplaced Priorities

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Despite all the recent fanfare about the County’s “good” fiscal position and the County Executive’s claims, the Dutchess County 2015 Tentative Budget does not live up to all its praise and rhetoric.  Reducing the entire county’s property tax by a mere $300,000 is not something the taxpayer should get too excited about.

The fact of the matter is that the new spending plan has a series of historic highs and lows. The County Executive’s Budget sets an all-time record high for spending. The Budget borrows more and increases our debt service to record high levels and puts in motion significant future tax increases to hit taxpayers in 2016; the 2015 Budget creates a recurring structural deficit that sharply drains the fund balance; and the so-called property tax relief is so negligible that some residents may actually see their taxes rise.  The Capital Plan for 2015 is incomplete and not transparent, and claims the Pod’s will save the County $1 million in 2015 which remains to be seen.

A few weeks ago the County Executive took credit when he celebrated a “fiscal success” that Dutchess County Government ended its 2013 fiscal year with a surplus of $6,000,000.  Upon further analysis of the fiscal year report for 2013, the county’s surplus was derived mostly from withholding over $5 million in sales tax revenues from Dutchess County’s Towns, Cities, and Villages, and slashing much needed mental health programs by nearly $7 million.

“There is a limit to the number of cuts governments can sustain before the costs—to the work lives of its employees and to services it provides—begin to outstrip the savings benefits.,” said County Legislator Francena Amparo (D-Town of Wappinger, Village of Wappingers Falls).

“The County Executive’s priorities are misplaced,” said County Legislator Joel Tyner (D-Clinton/Rhinebeck) and then he added, “While he was in Albany he voted to impose a property tax cap on cities, towns, and villages without any mandate relief, and now that he’s county executive, he’s shortchanging these municipalities their fair share of sales tax revenue forcing them to cut services and raise taxes and fees.”

“The County Budget is being balanced on the backs of our local governments and the people who rely on mental health services,” said Minority Leader Barbara Jeter-Jackson (D-City of Poughkeepsie) and then added, “The City of Poughkeepsie has imposed garbage fees and parking meters to balance their budget to make up the $2 million dollars in lost sales tax revenue from the County.”

“In one breath the County Executive claims fiscal soundness and surpluses, and yet he imposed an $8 million residential energy tax in 2014 because county government faced a deficit,” said Legislator Micki Strawinski (D – Red Hook) and then she added “Can he really claim success when the county’s policies have harmed local residents in our municipalities?

Legislator April Farley (D-Beacon) added, “If there really is a surplus, then consideration should be made to bringing municipalities back to the pre-2012 sales tax distribution levels or putting some of the monies back in mental hygiene and other health, wellness, nutrition and caregiver programs.”

“How can we as representatives of the people of our districts vote for a Capital Plan that leaves out the cost of several projects in 2015 that could easily lead to well over $200 million in borrowing?” County Legislator Rich Perkins (D-Hyde Park, Town of Poughkeepsie) asked.

“Every budget is complex; it is impacted by current economic conditions, government obligations and the goals of the administration.  As Legislators it is critical to scrutinize this document with prudence as to the long term effects should it pass in its present form and that is what this caucus has done,” said Alison MacAvery, Assistant Minority Leader.

Fighting to keep people in homes

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and personally thank Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson for their hard work to fight foreclosures and evictions in Dutchess County. They use a two-part organizing strategy of legal defense and public action to keep people in their homes.

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson and I have had a working relationship for the past two years. We and many others signed petitions, attended vigils and contacted banks like Bank of America and the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union to help keep two families in their homes. Together, we all worked to prevent two homes (one in Wappingers Falls and the other in Beacon) from becoming vacant and another family from becoming homeless.

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson organizes around the principle that fighting banks is a collective, not an individual, struggle. The ultimate goal is to educate, organize and support homeowners and tenants to defend their right to stay in their homes.

If you know anyone facing foreclosure and/or eviction, I strongly encourage them to contact Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson (http://nobodyleavesmidhudson.org/), New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/help-homeowners) and their local elected officials for guidance. When we stand up and fight together, we win.

Francena Amparo for Office of County Legislator 2013

I want to thank the hundreds of enrolled Town of Wappinger voters who recently signed my designating petitions, thus approving my candidacy for the Office of County Legislator in the November 2013 election. Likewise, I wish to express my gratitude to the many supporters who voluntarily went door to door on my behalf in the oppressive heat. I would like to express my gratitude to them for believing in me and giving their time and energies to obtain the necessary signature to secure my name on the ballot.

I also want to thank the Independence voters for the privilege of their endorsement.

In the upcoming months, I look forward to meeting as many constituents as possible, while fighting for fiscal responsibility and community interests.

Francena Amparo

Dutchess County Legislator

Dist. 14