Orange County News Roundup, Jan. 6

By Yvonne Marcotte, Epoch Times
January 6, 2016 6:13 pm Last Updated: January 7, 2016 11:34 am

Town of Newburgh Middle School Gets Bomb Threat

When a bomb threat was called in to the Meadow Hill School in the Town of Newburgh on Jan. 4, the building was evacuated. The MidHudsonNews reported that students left the building and were sent to another site. The call came in at 8:50 a.m., and the Orange County Sheriff’s department sent a K-9 unit to search out potential bombs. State police and city of Newburgh police assisted the Town of Newburgh police in the investigation. Authorities completed the building check at 11 a.m. and found nothing to cause suspicion. After-school events were cancelled.

Rizzo Electric Bids $35 Million as Govt Center General Contractor

Bids for construction of the Orange County Government Center in Goshen were submitted and announced on Dec. 22.

A.M. Rizzo Electrical Contractors submitted the low bid of $35.26 million for work as general contractor, reported the MidHudsonNews on Jan. 4. Low bid of $7.3 million for HVAC is Armistead Mechanical. Low bidder for the plumbing contract is $3.3 million, and the electrical contract low bid at just under $5.4 million is Mehl Electric Company. County Executive Steven Neuhaus said bids will be awarded in February. “We hope to be awarding the bids by early February and have construction start and then have an 18-month construction period that would take us to the end of ’17.” The county now rents buildings around the county. The completed structure will bring the majority of county services under one roof.

State Reimburses County $177,823 for Public Safety Expenses

An annual reimbursement from the state to Orange County in the amount of $177,823 for eligible expenses around public safety calls and dispatches have been given to the county based on the scope of operations, demographics, and emergency services metrics. Sullivan County received $155,289 and Rockland got $227,942.

Newburgh to Decide What Buildings to Keep

Newburgh’s public safety building needs expensive structural and environmental upgrades and the city must decide to upgrade or replace. The city will assess structures owned by the city and decide what can be sold or generate more revenue, reported the MidHudsonNews. City Manager Michael Ciaravino said, “That involves our safety center that is deteriorating to all of the buildings that the city is in control of. One of the most important things that we are looking at is whether the assets can generate revenue, what are the assets that are valuable but are no longer necessary to hold in our portfolio and what is our short-, mid- and long-term plans to house our safety forces.”

Governor Vetoes Villages’ Plan to Impose Hotel Tax

Gov. Cuomo vetoed plans to impose new hotel occupancy taxes in several small communities in the county, noting that so-called bed taxes are typically levied throughout an entire city or county, and not on a piecemeal village-by-village basis. Officials in Woodbury and other villages and towns had hoped to levy the taxes on hotel guests to raise revenue for local services. In most cases, the proposals would have capped the tax at three percent. Cities and counties around the state currently impose varying taxes on overnight lodging. In an explanation of the veto, Cuomo wrote that he would oppose giving smaller communities the ability to levy their own taxes in the absence of a “comprehensive and determinative” statewide policy. “If the Legislature sets such a policy, I will commit to reconsidering the issue.”

From The Associated Press

Former Warwick Prison Property Gets $3 Million for Redevelopment

The Empire State Development Corporation awarded a grant on Dec. 28 of up to $3 million for redevelopment of the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in the Town of Warwick. Funds will upgrade the facility’s water, sewer, and road capacity, reported the Walkill Valley News. The property will be transformed into the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park. Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton said the facility will mean many more jobs and more income for the area. “We have already put a lot of construction jobs into the economy and The Yard is employing people,” Sweeton said;

A dome structure will be added to The Yard, a recreation complex, for additional indoor training and a banquet hall. “Taxes are being paid on the property now, which has never been done before when the state owned it,” Sweeton said. The prison closed several years ago when the state was looking to consolidate inmates and save money in operational cost of prisons. The business park will be marketed as a shovel ready, campus-like corporate park for economic development. The state has contributed about 40 percent to the cost of the full $7 million upgrade.

The status of the bids for the Orange County Government Center was corrected on Jan. 7. Epoch Times regrets the error.