NEWBURGH – The Newburgh City Council was officially sworn into office for the new year on Sunday. City Court Judge Loren Williams administered the oaths.
There was only one new addition to the city council, long-time city activist Omari Shakur, who is now a councilman-at-large.
Returning for 2020 were Mayor Torrance Harvey, Ward 1 Alderwoman Karen Mejia, Ward 2 Councilwoman Ramona Monteverdi, Ward 3 Councilman Robert Sklarz, Ward 4 Councilwoman Patty Sofokles and Councilman-at-Large Anthony Grice.
Shakur said he had been waiting a long time to be on the other side of the table and now is looking forward to focusing on youth civic participation and workforce development within the city. “I’m very excited, but I’m ready to get to work. We already started the work, so now I’m ready to get back and do it officially,” said Shakur. “This is it. We’re here officially. We’re here to make sure that we make a new Newburgh for Newburgh,” he said.
Mayor Harvey said he believes 2020 is going to be the best year for Newburgh yet concerning government efficacy and he considers the new council to be extra special. “It’s a dream team. We’re going to get things done. We’re going to continue what we’ve already started, in terms of accountability, being transparent- holding people accountable for doing what’s right for the city,” said Harvey. “We know we have some challenges. We had some layoffs for the fiscal year, but we’re hoping that we’re going to find some funding sources, even if it’s development and tax rateables, or whatever, so we can bring those folks back, particularly in our public safety department,” he said.
Harvey said the council will also be working on creating a youth advisory committee, restructuring public transportation, economic development opportunities, taking advantage of the large-scale projects coming to the Hudson Valley, developing without displacing residents, increasing affordable housing and improving code compliance.