Orange County Partnership - News

  • Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus

O.C. Executive Neuhaus Proposes Large Increase in Infrastructure Spending; Discusses Delays in Route 17 Expansion

In a recent exclusive interview with Real Estate In-Depth Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus discussed that in preparation of his annual budget address, he plans to significantly increase county infrastructure spending thanks to surpluses from federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as well as county sales tax.


In addition, Neuhaus said he plans to propose a significant property tax cut due to the county’s strong financial position at the moment.


“Some counties are using ARPA money for social programs and things like that. For the most part, all of my ARPA money is going towards infrastructure,” he said, “We have $75 million coming in. We are going to put in at the end of the day about $20 million for a new Medical Examiner’s office and also all sorts of other major infrastructure projects.”


He added later in the interview, “When I present my budget in a couple of weeks you are going to see some massive infrastructure projects listed on it, you are going to see a property tax cut for the taxpayers, and I am thinking a significant one in the tax levy and the tax rate. You will also see less debt.”


Neuhaus revealed that he has been told that despite Gov. Kathy Hochul’s commitment earlier this year of $1 billion for the expansion of Route 17 and the release of the findings of a PEL (Planning and Environmental Linkage) study by the New York State DOT last year, the state will need another three years to study the roadway expansion. “What I am disappointed about is that I am still hearing from New York State it is going to be three years of studies (before construction could begin). Three more years of studies before you even start to see a plan and then you are going to have to fight for more funding to get that plan implemented,” he said.


Neuhaus added, “I want to see asphalt being put down. I don’t want to see studies. That road has been studied for 60 years.”


He later admitted that the delay is frustrating. “This thing is like ‘Sasquatch,’ it’s like urban folklore that there is going to be a third lane on Route 17,” he said.