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October 23rd, 2013

Councilman Dillard calls for the renovation of government center

Curlie Dillard

NEWBURGH - City Council Member and Democratic Candidate for the County Legislature in the 4th District Curlie Dillard has called for the existing County Government Center to be renovated, which would save County taxpayers about $30 million over the project favored by his opponent in the race.

"This is the best use of taxpayer dollars and the quickest and most effective solution to opening the Government Center which has been closed for more than two years," said Dillard.

Councilman Dillard also went on to criticize the current County Executive for politicizing this issue and pressuring design professionals to inflate the costs associated with the proposed renovation. "In looking closer at the options available to the County, it became clear that the County Executive cared about only one thing: getting rid of the current government center regardless of what it would cost County taxpayers. Well I care and I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to make sure we make the most of every tax dollar we spend."

In researching the various options (renovating versus building new), independent experts disputed many of the claims that were being made by the County Executive and the head of the County’s Department of Public Works. Councilman Dillard confirmed that any renovation plan would make the facility ADA compliant—this is a federal requirement. Based on the current scope of renovation, the entire building would be gutted, leaving only the concrete framework and exterior block walls. This would provide maximum flexibility to comply with ADA requirements and utilize the most modern HVAC and other mechanical systems. Councilman Dillard also confirmed that a renovation would take significantly less time (allowing the Government Center to open much sooner than a new facility) and would make the County eligible for a greater amount of financial support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), thereby lowering the cost to County taxpayers even further.

Councilman Dillard concluded by saying, "There is a clear choice in November. As your County Legislator, I will advocate to renovate the Government Center and to save County taxpayers over $30 million on this one project alone. But even more importantly, I will work to make sure decisions like these are not politicized and that the best decisions for County taxpayers are made on all issues."

Council Member Dillard has served on the Newburgh City Council and is running for the 4th County Legislative District representing sections of both the City and Town of Newburgh. He is the endorsed candidate of both the Democratic and Working Families parties.

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