Neuhaus Delivers State of the County Address

GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus delivered his State of the County address remotely to a large audience on Wednesday night at the Emergency Services Center auditorium.

Neuhaus is a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy currently assigned to Naval Special Warfare and deployed abroad in the Middle East. The State of the County address was live-streamed.

Neuhaus was introduced on Wednesday night by Ed Harrison, General Manager of New York Stewart International Airport.

“Our County government continues its forward progress,” Neuhaus said. “Our labor contracts are ahead of schedule and signed; our financials are stronger; our job growth is solid; and our property values are rising. We must persist in our efforts to work with the private sector to grow the economy. Economic development along with public safety remain my top priorities. Orange County has a bright and prosperous future ahead that I’m sure we all look forward to.”

Added Steve Brescia, Chairman of the Orange County Legislature: “Labor contracts settled, the County tax rate lower than it’s been in several years, a rising private sector economy. These successes are the envy of any county in the U.S. Orange County is very strong and poised for more growth and success. The Legislature and I look forward to County Executive Neuhaus’ return from his deployment and continuing our positive partnership that results in gains for Orange County residents.”

Accomplishments highlighted in the State of the County address include:
* Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Orange County’s financial outlook, raising the bond rating to Aa2 with a stable outlook. The Aa2 rating reflects the stabilization of the County’s reserves and a large tax base that continues to expand.
* All Orange County government labor contracts are settled.
* Unemployment is down from 4.9 percent last year to 3.9 percent in 2019, which is better than State and national averages.
* The County’s sales tax revenue rose by more than $9.98 million in 2018, an increase of more than 3.6 percent from 2017. The County budgeted $271.97 million in sales tax for 2018, but generated $289.86 million.
* Despite growing unfunded mandates forced onto County taxpayers by the State Legislature, the unassigned fund balance continues to grow and has more than doubled since 2014. It is now back to State Comptroller recommended levels.
* Tourism continues to be an area of significant growth.
* The utilization of repurposed Tappan Zee Bridge panels on County projects will save taxpayers $770,000.
* Four miles of the Heritage Trail will be paved this year, extending from Goshen to East Main Street in the City of Middletown.
* The County Attorney’s Office has been recognized nationally two years in a row for innovative anti-cyberbullying and juvenile crime initiatives.
* Cutting-edge Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center (HVCAC) opened in the County’s Emergency Services Center. The Center has assisted law enforcement with more than 700 cases, including serious crimes such as robbery, assault and homicide.
* The County’s Interoperability Communication System will go live in the third quarter of 2019. It will enhance response times for those in need in emergencies and provide countywide connectivity during times of crisis
* Property values continue to rise.

“On a personal note, I am enormously grateful to the many people across the County who have expressed their support for the members of our armed services who are deployed,” Neuhaus said. “I appreciate the daily efforts of our County employees, along with the hard work of my staff and our Department heads. While I’m currently out of the country, my heart remains in Orange County and I look forward to my return home.”

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