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The Poughkeepsie Common Council has until May 19 to override — with six of eight votes in favor — the mayor’s veto of the resolution to fund the city bus system through the end of the year. Video by Jack Howland/Poughkeepsie Journal
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By May 19, City of Poughkeepsie residents will learn the fate of the funding for the city bus service.

That’s the deadline for the city common council to override — with six of eight votes in favor — Mayor Rob Rolison’s veto of the resolution the council passed on April 19 to fund the city bus system through the end of the year. The city’s 2017 budget only funds the city bus service through June 30, at which point Rolison hopes to implement his long-gestating plan to consolidate the city and county services.

On Monday, before the evening common council meeting at Poughkeepsie City Hall, opponents of that bus consolidation plan intend to march from the Family Partnership Center to city hall as part of Community Voices Heard’s event “Hudson Valley May Day Rally.”

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RESOLUTION: Resolution to retain city bus service passes

Councilmember Chris Petsas, D-1st Ward, who’s led the opposition movement among the council, said he will likely not pursue that override vote on Monday, though he expects a crowd of city residents to show up in support of funding the city bus service through the end of the year.

Kevin Newman, 64, a City of Poughkeepsie resident who uses the bus system when inclement weather keeps him from riding his bike, plans to attend the rally.

“We need the two systems, and the two are complementary,” he said. “The city bus service provides that neighborhood service, and the county bus provides more of a corridor, or highway, service.”

On this issue, two camps have emerged on the city council: Those who support the mayor, who has called the bus consolidation plan a necessary measure to help bring down the city’s roughly $13 million deficit; and those who support the opposition movement that’s fueled by a belief that city bus funding continue and consolidation would weaken the service.

The resolution to fund the city bus service that Rolison later vetoed passed 5-3, with dissenting votes from Matthew McNamara, D-8th Ward, Mike Young, D-2nd Ward, and Lee David Klein, R-4th Ward. Overriding the veto would take six votes.

Rolison said on Saturday he was confident the common council, and in particular the dissenting members, will uphold his veto.

“My expectation is that they would not support overriding the veto since they didn’t support the action to begin with,” he said.

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