As a result of the recession, the city's revenues fell $3.5 million, and Mayor John Tkazyik had to cut the city's workforce by 10 percent, mainly through attrition. "We cut overtime, we cut contracted services, we are cutting out the waste," says Mr. Tkazyik in an interview at his office.
But at the same time, the city is attracting developers through various incentives. At least 35 projects – ranging from condos to new medical facilities to a $25 million office and shopping complex on the banks of the Hudson River – are in the works, says Michael Long, the city administrator. "We have a handful of developers who want to turn this city around," he says.
One of those is New York-based Hudson-York Capital, which has invested in a number of mixed-use projects. "I am optimistic about the economy," says Jacob Frydman, the firm's managing partner, adding that Poughkeepsie has a good combination of culture, mass transit, and affordable homes.
This is not to say that everything in Poughkeepsie is coming up roses. At the Take 5 Deli, an employee says the eatery has gone from five workers to three. "Business is off about 50 percent," she says.
But new jobs are being created in retail, the medical field, professional services, and tourism, says Mr. Long. As a result, the unemployment rate in the metro area has fallen to 7.7 percent.
Poughkeepsie is even benefiting from a national trend – an uptick in exports. Dorsey Metrology International, which produces precision measuring equipment, is working on projects in Turkey and Malaysia. "We are out of space and are looking to add space and people," says Ted Luty Jr., the president.