Metzger urges Hochul to prioritize housing and environment in national budget – Daily Freeman



Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger sits in her office on October 5, 2023. (Tania Barriclo/Daily Freeman)

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Six days before the state budget deadline, Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger outlined the county’s priorities in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

In his letter, Metzger lists housing, climate and environment, transportation, child care, and hospital funding as priorities.

The budget deadline is Monday, April 1, and negotiations are currently continuing after the Assembly and Senate adopted the so-called single-chamber bill.

“During the final days of tripartite budget negotiations, I would like to urge you to support a major budget proposal of great importance to Ulster County and rural northern communities,” Metzger said in the letter.

On the housing front, Metzger said, “There are several Congressional budget proposals that I strongly urge you to support in the enacted budget that will help alleviate the housing emergency facing our county and every other county in the state. ” he wrote.

Metzger said Ulster County is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of unhoused individuals and families. He said the number of emergency housing placements in the county has increased from an average of about 300 to 350 homes last fall to more than 500, and the length of stay for families in emergency housing (usually motels) has increased from about four months in 2021. He said the number has increased to nearly two years. today. “

“This is an unacceptable situation for families, especially children, and at a time when housing costs are out of control, we need to do more to keep people in their homes,” Metzger wrote.

Metzger said the county strongly supports the creation of a $250 million housing access voucher program, proposed in both the Senate and Assembly’s 1st House budgets, adding that “homeless or becoming homeless “We will provide rental assistance to people who are at immediate risk.”

County executives also directed Hochul to allocate $25 million in first-time homeowner assistance, support a bipartisan proposal to help bring homeownership within reach for low- and moderate-income households, and support small-scale rental developments. They called for increased funding for initiatives and repair and rehabilitation. Affordable rural housing proposed by the Senate.

The growth of the short-term rental market is exacerbating the housing crisis in Ulster County, with some areas converting as much as 10% of their housing stock into short-term rentals, Metzger said.

Metzger said he supports Hochul’s support for regulations, but he also supports state Sen. Michelle Hinchey’s (D-Saugerties) proposal to create necessary statewide guidelines and regulations for short-term rentals, including a rental registry. , also called for support for a bill that would enforce enforcement. Provisions of law by the Department of State.

Regarding climate and the environment, Metzger said the county is working to achieve the goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which he supported during his term in the state Senate.

“Enacted budgets must ensure appropriate conservation measures to minimize or mitigate impacts to active agricultural land, prime agricultural land and soils, and sensitive natural resources.” Metzger wrote.

She said an important step is to amend the Civil Service Act to bring it in line with climate law.

“This budget also provides an opportunity to better align residential clean energy incentives with the CLCPA’s ambitious goals,” Metzger said. “The building sector is the single largest source of climate-destroying emissions in New York State, and one of the biggest barriers for residents and small businesses to make clean energy investments is that even if these investments have no long-term impact, Even if it brings in the initial capital costs, it’s a savings.” Metzger added.

“We urge you to support the Senate’s proposal to double the income tax credit limit for residential solar and geothermal power from $5,000 to $10,000 and extend solar credits to storage as well.” she stated.

Regarding transportation, Metzger said the 5.4% increase for non-MTA municipal transit systems proposed in the executive budget is “woefully insufficient to meet the needs of Ulster County and other regions, adding $79.6 million to the transit system.” We ask for support for the Senate’s proposal to do so.” Support for statewide transportation operations other than the MTA. ”

Mr. Metzger also touted Mr. Hochul’s support for the Senate’s proposal for an additional $160 million in support for the Integrated Regional Highway Improvement Program and $50 million in additional support for cold weather recovery funding.

Regarding child care, Metzger asked the governor to include a bicameral proposal for an additional $5 million to support after-school programs.

Regarding hospital funding, Metzger wrote, “I urge you to accept both chambers’ proposals to provide additional funding to financially strapped hospitals.” “Our community is at risk of losing critical services such as critical inpatient behavioral health at Health Alliance Hospital in Kingston, as well as workforce and maternity services that no city or county can do without.” Metzger said.

A representative for the hospital network said recently that authorities aim to conclude negotiations with the state soon.

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