POUGHKEEPSIE – Last year, Poughkeepsie became one of the first municipalities outside of New York City to adopt plans for a municipal ID. Since then, the cities of Kingston and Middletown have adopted a similar program and have begun issuing the IDs. On Friday, June 7, the City of Poughkeepsie will allow residents to receive theirs. The City of Newburgh, which approved the cards, has yet to begin the program.
The legislation enacting the program included language that said that the new identification could be used to open bank accounts. Councilmember Sarah Salem, when asked about that language last month, said that local banks had not been contacted about the use of Municipal IDs for account purposes. Salem said that in previous experience in working for a bank, the councilperson had discretion over whether or not to accept certain forms of identification. On June 5th, MidHudsonNews.com spoke with
management at both Riverside and Chase banks in the city and management at both institutions said they would not accept the city issued ID as valid proof of identity or residency.
Salam drafted the municipal ID plan with Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson.
Members of the common council believe municipal IDs will be particularly helpful for those who currently lack government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license. Such barriers, according to the measure passed unanimously by the common council in 2018, leave “thousands of individuals — including immigrants, homeless people, transgender people, senior citizens, young people, and those who have been formerly incarcerated — without access to critical services, benefits, cultural, educational, and civic opportunities.”
Mayor Rob Rolison noted that many members of the immigrant community currently use their passports as identification and they run the risk of having them lost or stolen, which places an additional burden on the individual.
Rolison said that the city is looking to expand the uses for the municipal ID including gaining access to city pools and other services.
Police Chief Tom Pape said that his officers will be instructed to accept the city-issued identification when it comes to minor interactions, including violating city ordinances.
“If it’s a simple city ordinance ticket and they are looking for some sort of valid identification, something is better than nothing,” Pape said. “We know folks that have municipal IDs had to come to city hall with some type of information that this is who they say they are.”
Pape did say that his department will require additional proof of identity in the event of a crime, including but not limited to the use of fingerprinting in order to establish the identity of the person.
The city chamberlain’s office has hired a part-time bilingual clerk to handle the issuance of the new identification. The employee has been training for the past few weeks on the software and hardware necessary to produce the identification.
The cards include the person’s photograph, name, date of birth, address, ID card number, and card expiration date. They are available to residents 14 years of age and older and will be valid for four years. Municipal IDs costs $10 for adults and $5 for those 14-17 years and seniors.
They will be issued at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 62 Civic Center Plaza, on Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. People must establish proof of identity and residency to obtain a card. Applications are available in English and Spanish. Applicants must meet the specific criteria in order to obtain the new ID. They may be obtained on the city website.