Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome to my World: Newburgh

This is my first entry into a new world of the glamorous life of Newburgh NY. Glamorous may not be the correct word to use to express life in Newburgh, but there is hope.
It was suggested this morning at a seminar hosted by the Orange County Association of Realtors that everyone should have a blog. I had no idea of how to put it together so I called my 22-year-old daughter and asked. She just did a blog a few weeks ago. So here I am.
Today, I spent my afternoon cleaning my office at 730 Broadway. Sometimes one must just throw out the clutter. I am preparing for the upswing in the real estate market. Please, dear Lord, make it happen!
The evening included attending a forum sponsored by County Legislator Jim Kulisek. He is a very good representative and stays involved. It is like he really likes his job. The forum speaker was David Jolly, Orange County Commissioner of Social Services. In attendance was County Legislators Chris Eachhus and Jeff Berkman of Middletown.
Jolly spoke about the operation of DSS and then took questions. Many people had jarring stories of how they were mistreated by DSS staff and the Deputy Sheriffs who welcome in the welfare recipients. I spoke about my experiences of sitting down there for 45 minutes waiting to deliver a simple document to a social worker. It was a glimpse into the life of the people in Newburgh who are subjected to some really cruel and mean-spirited county workers. I also asked about what percentage of DSS expenditures makes up total County budget. I estimated 50%. But Jolly informed me that 73% of property tax revenues go to Social Service Programs. That is not all, The county receives additional funds from the State and Fed to address Medicare. So the total budget for Social Service related services is larger than the County budget.
After the forum, Jolly came to me and personally introduced himself. A very nice administrator and gentleman, but the whole system needs an overhaul. Especially Newburgh gets probably 60 to 70% of his total budget.
I mentioned that welfare is by far the largest industry in Newburgh. And also asked what could be done to decrease the number of recipients. The whole system is upsetting!

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