Lawmakers add $25M to 2023 budget for Dutchess Stadium upgrades
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman the chairperson of the Dutchess County Legislature defended an amendment to the 2023 county budget to draw $25 million from the fund balance to cover upgrades at Dutchess Stadium was the most fiscally prudent way to meet the county's contractual obligations to the minor league ball club that calls “The Dutch” home. Democrats, however, denounced the amendment, which was introduced on the night lawmakers were set to adopt the 2023 spending plan. The GOP-led Legislature last week approved the amendment in a 17 to 6 vote. Democrat Randy Johnson of Poughkeepsie voted with Republicans to use the fund balance to pay for repairs and renovations at the stadium. Comptroller Robin Lois joined with Democratic legislators, calling the amendment an “outrageous grab of taxpayer dollars,” noting that the Republicans avoided the established process for funding so large a project. Lois said the amendment vote gave the administration “a blank check” to spend the money on whatever they want at the stadium. “They don’t even have to do what we’ve been talking about for the past four years,” Lois said in an interview on Monday. “They could do a totally different thing. It’s a blank check to the administration and [Department of Public Works] to spend it on the stadium however they want with no legislative oversight and no public comment,” she said. Legislature Chair Gregg Pulver said the county has a contractual obligation to the Hudson Valley Renegades to make specific improvements to the stadium. “Major League Baseball makes all of their minor league parks adhere to a certain standard,” said Pulver. “If we don’t do these things, Major League Baseball can and will pull the franchise.” Pulver denied that funding the project was a last-minute effort without any opportunity for legislative or public comment. “It has gone through the committee process twice,” Pulver said. “We’ve discussed this for two solid years. ..." Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.