Molinaro Leaving Dutchess County with Stadium Funding Mess.
Earlier this year Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro planned to use American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated for covid relief to renovate Dutchess Stadium, a county own baseball facility that is home to the Hudson Valley Renegades. This plan was ratified by the Republican majority that controls the County Legislature in 2021. The renovations are required as part of the Renegade's 25-year lease with the county. After a backlash, Molinaro abandoned the plan and decided to put the funding toward housing.
During the budget process and town hall meetings to answer questions on the budget while Molinaro was running for US Congress this fall, the renovations were not included in the budget. Many believe that Molinaro left this contractually required stadium renovation out of the budget for political expediency. At the time New York governor Kathy Hochul was taking heat from Molinaro’s Republican allies for using taxpayer funds for the Buffalo Bills football stadium.
This week Republicans in the county legislature pulled a plan that would have borrowed $15.15 million for the stadium upgrades in favor of exploring paying for the stadium upgrades from the County's fund balance. Due to inflation, interest rate hikes and other factors, the cost of the renovations have gone up significantly.
New York State Assemblyman Kieran M. Lalor, who is also the publisher of Hudson Power Broker, chided the County Executive who is not finishing out his term because he was elected to Congress last month. “Molinaro waited until after he was elected to a Congressional District that doesn’t include Dutchess County to deal with the mess. In the meantime, the price of the upgrades has increased. Molinaro is going to fit in just fine in the Swamp,” Lalor said.
The Hudson Valley Renegade are owned by for profit Diamond Baseball Holdings. DBH operates nine other minor league teams around the country. They are the New York Yankees High-A ball club.