Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison Says The City Is Making Progress
Republican Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison is running for a second four-year term. He faces Democrat Joash Ward, who is new to running for elected office. Rolison spoke with WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne about the state of the city.
A recent audit shows the deficit dropping from $13.2 million at the end of 2015 to $7.1 million at the end of 2018.
At the end of September, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released fiscal stress scores, and Poughkeepsie was categorized as being under significant fiscal stress. Rolison believes the deficit decrease will help move the city out of the category. Plus, he says, the scoring methodology changed in Albany, and categories such as sewer and water funds, where Poughkeepsie has healthy fund balances, no longer counted in the latest stress scores. If elected to a second term, Rolison says he would maintain fiscal stability in the budget and city government, and continue some initiatives.
Following turmoil in the school district and low graduation rates, Dr. Eric Rosser began as superintendent of the Poughkeepsie City School District this year. He and Rolison recently announced they are partnering to launch the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet to create a shared vision and so-called cradle-to-career agenda for child development in the city.
The city, with far more Democrats than Republicans, has elected a Republican mayor continuously since 2008.
Rolison’s opponent, Democrat Joash Ward, has labeled Rolison’s reign a tale of two cities, the north side and south side, as the mayor referenced. Both Rolison and Ward say they want to unify the city, and Rolison takes exception to Ward’s allegations that he has ignored the north side. Rolison’s phrase for the city during his first term is “the buzz is back.”