Newburgh Mayor Says His Focus Includes Development, Housing

Jun 17, 2019

The mayor of the City of Newburgh has his sights set on developing the waterfront, all while juggling ongoing water contamination issues and new staff members. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Democrat Torrance Harvey about the city’s direction.

Harvey continues to contend with PFOS water contamination that was found in the city’s water supply — Washington Lake – in spring 2016. The city wants to be reimbursed for costs associated with the contamination, and it wants the contamination cleaned up. Last summer, the city sued several parties, including the Air Force, over the PFOS contamination that originated at Stewart Air National Guard Base from the historic use of firefighting foam.

Meantime, he says the city is working on getting landlords up to code and getting rid of urban blight. On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new rent laws and tenant protections. Municipalities outside New York City can opt in. Harvey believes provisions in the rental reforms are fair, and would opt in.

In 2018, the city’s planning and economic development director, city manager, and comptroller resigned within a short period. Todd Venning is the new comptroller. And, after serving as interim city manager for six months, Joseph Donat, formerly deputy chief of staff to Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, was appointed city manager in May.

He next refers to the shooting death of 20-year-old Cherod Gayle. The funeral was held over the weekend.

Harvey, who was appointed mayor after the April 2018 death of Judy Kennedy, won an election to finish Kennedy’s term. Harvey is up for re-election in November for a four-year term.