County accepts bus grant rejected by City of Poughkeepsie


POUGHKEEPSIE – The $315,000 state grant the Poughkeepsie Common Council failed to accept will end up in county coffers.  The Duchess County Legislature voted 22 to 1 Monday night to accept the grant.
The “no” vote came from Democrat Joel Tyner.
Republican James Miccio summed up the sense of most legislators that the transfer of city buses to the county on July 1 is a done deal.
“If we table this and that delays the startup of what may be not the most perfect routes, but they’re routes in the City of Poughkeepsie, that’s going to be a delay that the residents that we’re trying to protect are not going to have their buses,” Miccio said.
In answer to several questions from Minority Leader Micki Strawinski, about whether this is properly falling into place, County Executive Marcus Molinaro conceded the county has not had much time because the Poughkeepsie Council was deadlocked on the issue for months.
“We were not able to begin our analysis of our routes nor the development of new routes until we know that the city was not going to have bus service,” Molinaro said.
Public Works Commissioner Robert Balkind said this is not a new issue to him.  He noted they were looking at a possible county takeover four years ago.
“Is it feasible for the county to operate the city bus service, and the answer was ‘yes with certain conditions being in place’.  And, I’ll say at the time, one of the conditions was the transfer of those bus assets to the county.”
Balkind said acquiring the city buses will give the county added resources and some redundancy. 
Molinaro said with the grant in hand, they can look closely at both routes and schedules.