POUGHKEEPSIE – An audit of the county-owned Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill finds the capital projects have not been properly planned for and fully disclosed in the county’s five-year capital plan.
“Although the county had knowledge of the needed repairs for several years prior to 2018, the request for funding was hurried and omitted from the budget,” said County Comptroller Robin Lois.
The county leases the stadium to the Hudson Valley Renegades minor league baseball team. It was recently announced that the New York Yankees farm team will be playing at the stadium.
County Executive Marcus Molinaro believes the county has been following appropriate procedures when it comes to funding the upgrades.
“When it comes to stadium investment, we always try to get the best deal for taxpayers. At times that means negotiating with the Renegades ownership to secure revenue and limit costs to the county. When we know we intend to proceed and have reached general agreement, we present them to the legislature for consideration. Most of the time that’s in the non-binding multi-year projected capital plan. But, again, our priority is to get the best deal for taxpayers.” Molinaro said.
Lois said the county has a five-year lease with the Renegades that expires December 31, 2023, and will soon need to be renegotiated. “The new lease agreement must safeguard taxpayer funds while planning for improvements to the quality and experience for the stadium tenants and visitors alike,” she said. “A fair and equitable lease would include remittance for operating expenses and allowance for anticipated increase in annual capital bond and interest costs incurred by the county.”