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- Frequently Asked Questions -

Business

(Includes: Bidding, Building/Inspections, Business & Economic Development, Planning- Development/Zoning/Land Use)




Business

(Includes: Bidding, Building/Inspections, Business & Economic Development, Planning- Development/Zoning/Land Use)

Q.   Does Dutchess County license general contractors?

The licensing of various types of contractors (general, heating, plumbing, electrical, etc.) occurs at the municipal level, not the County level.  Contact the appropriate municipality for more information.

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Q.   What are formal bids?

Whenever a single purchase or group of the same or similar products will cost the County at least $20,000, NYS Municipal law dictates that municipalities must procure these commodities through the "formal" competitive bidding process. In addition, all public works contracts in excess of $35,000, must follow the same guidelines.

The "formal" competitive bidding process begins when the County publishes a legal notice in the official County Newspapers. The legal notice will list the type of commodity requested as well as where to pick up the bid packet and the time and date of the opening of the bid. In response to the legal notice, vendors are requested to contact us for the actual bid packet. The vendor then fills out the pertinent information and returns it in a sealed envelope marked with the required information prior to the bid opening. On the date and at the time listed in the legal notice, all sealed bids will be opened and read publicly. All bids will be reviewed for conformance to specifications as well as other factors and a decision is usually made shortly after opening. By law, the bid award must go to the lowest responsive, responsible vendor (bidder).

It is important to note than all bids must be received by the time and date indicated. Any bids arriving after the scheduled bid time will be rejected and returned to the bidder.

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Q.   Are there any exceptions to the formal bid purchasing rules listed above?

Yes, NYS Finance Law explains that Preferred Source Vendors must first be checked prior to any purchase. If a product is available in the form, function and utility desired by the County, we must proceed with the purchase from one of the preferred source vendors who by law are exempt from any of the competitive bidding processes noted.

NYS Preferred Source Vendors:

    * CORCRAFT (NYS Department of Correctional Services)
    * Industries for the Blind of New York State, Inc
    * New York State Industries for the Disabled
    * BUY OMH (NYS Office of Mental Health)

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Q.   What is a State Contract?

The New York State Office of General Services (NYS OGS) located in Albany, New York, establishes contracts for commodities, services, technology and telecommunications for use by all state and political subdivisions. OGS leverages the states buying power by combining state and local government agency requirements to establish contracts for considerable quantities. As a political subdivision, Dutchess County is entitled to purchase from these contracts. However, we are not required to use these contracts, but must follow applicable purchasing requirements if not using them. The use of NYS contracts allows us to purchase items that are listed at a price already obtained by following the requirements of the NYS Municipal Law.

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Q.   What do I do if a contractor has failed to complete a job or has done shoddy work?

You can lodge a complaint via the New York State Consumer Protection Board: http://www.nysconsumer.gov/assisting/complaint_form/complaint.htm.

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Q.   Can I have a business on my property?

Whether or not you can have a business on your property will depend upon a number of factors, including your municipality and your zoning.  The answer to this question will vary from municipality to municipality as well.  To find out about your specific property in your town, city or village, click Here to view a list of municipal contacts.

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Q.   Who is required to have a business license, and where can one be obtained?

Many businesses are required to be licensed by one unit of government or another.  In New York State there are many State permitting agencies with over 1,000 permits between them.

To find out if your business is required to have a license or permit, click Here to access New York State’s Online Permit Assistance and Licensing website (OPAL).  Here,  you can run a search on your businesses type to find out what licenses and permits are required.

Visit the “New York Loves Small Business” webpage that addresses permitting issues.  This page contains information, links and contacts that will aid you in finding out what permits are required of your business.

To speak with a permit coordinator, call the Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform at 518-474-8275 or toll-free (in New York State) 800-342-3464.

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Q.   I own a farm. Are funds available for farmland preservation?

There are farming grants available from the Dutchess County Partnership for Manageable Growth.  Click on the following link for more information:
  http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/Business/Agriculture/BUSagfund.pdf.

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Q.   How do I file a complaint against a business?

You can lodge a complaint via the New York State Consumer Protection Board: http://www.nysconsumer.gov/.

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Q.   What is the procedure for becoming incorporated?

In order to form a business corporation in New York State, you must file a Certificate of Incorporation with the Department of State.  The website of the New York State Department of State provides detailed instructions on this procedure as well as forms, on-line filing, and a resoure to check for name availability - http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/buscorp.html#certinc.

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Q.   Is there any literature available to help me write a business plan?

There are a number of websites that offer guidance for writing a business plan:

1.  The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides information on business plan basics, suggestions for writing and using a business plan, and a link to sample business plans.

2.  The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) provides business plan templates on their website, as well as phone numbers to call for free business advice.

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Q.   What is the unemployment rate in Dutchess County?

The New York State Department of Labor, Division of Research and Statistics compiles data on labor market information in the state. Click on the following link to access current statistics including New York State county unemployment rates as well as wages and job figures: http://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/index.shtm.  The New York State Department of Labor also offers an interactive program to view labor force and unemployment data for specific areas of New York State: http://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/LSLAUS.shtm.

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Q.   I would like to open an airport, either for public or private use, what do I have to do?

Visit the New York State Department of Transportation Aviation Service's Frequently Asked Questions webpage for airport owners/managers.

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Q.   How can I contact the local chamber of commerce?

The Dutchess County website provides a page with contact information for local chambers of commerce.  Click on the following link to access this information:
  http://www.dutchessny.gov/Business/BUSChambers.htm.

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Q.   What is the procedure for dissolving a business?

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance provides detailed instructions on the voluntary dissolution of a New York Corporation (TR-125) on the following webpage - http://www.tax.ny.gov/bus/doingbus/tr125.htm.

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Q.   Where is the nearest Better Business Bureau?

The Better Business Bureau that serves Dutchess County is located at 99 Lafayette Avenue, White Plains, NY 10603-3213,  (212) 533-6200; Fax (914) 428-6030

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Q.   Are there programs to help businesses start up or expand?

There are a number of websites that offer guidance and information on programs for starting up or expanding a business. Three very helpful sites are listed below:

1.  The “New York Loves Small Business” website provides information on every subject related to starting up a business, from meeting with a counselor, to financing and marketing, to licenses and regulations, to finding employees and more.  Be sure to scroll through to the end of the selections and click on their FAQs for helpful answers to such questions as “Where do I register the name of my business?” and “How do I get a federal employer identification number?”--and many more frequently asked questions.

2. Dutchess County SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) provides free help and counseling in starting or expanding a business.

3.  New York State’s website provides information and links regarding many of the facets involved in starting a business, such as taxes, licenses, permits, incorporation, loans, and more.

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Q.   What is the Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE)?

The Dutchess County chapter of SCORE provides free and confidential counseling for small businesses.  Click on the following link for more information:
  http://www.scoredutchessny.org/.

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Q.   Are there organizations and programs available to help with financing, starting up, and expanding a business?

There are a number of websites that offer guidance and information on programs for starting up or expanding a business. Three very helpful sites are listed below:

1.  The “New York Loves Small Business” website provides information on every subject related to starting up a business, from meeting with a counselor, to financing and marketing, to licenses and regulations, to finding employees and more.  Click Here to access this website; be sure to scroll through to the end of the selections and click on their FAQs for helpful answers to such questions as “Where do I register the name of my business?” and “How do I get a federal employer identification number?”--and many more frequently asked questions.

2. Dutchess County SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) provides free help and counseling in starting or expanding a business.

3.  New York State’s website provides information and links regarding many of the facets involved in starting a business, such as taxes, licenses, permits, incorporation, loans, and more.

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Q.   How do I become bonded?

Consult a reputable bonding company.  For more information, visit New York State's Online Permit Assistance and Licensing webpage - http://www.nys-permits.org/.

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Q.   What type of businesses can I run from my home?

Contact your local zoning office to find out what kind of business can be run from your home.  Click Here to access a list of municipal contacts.

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Q.   I own a small business and I want to offer medical benefits to my employees. Where can I find information and help with this?

To assist in making affordable health benefits available to small business owners and their employees, New York State has implemented the Healthy NY program.  Click on the following link for more information on this program, or call 1-866-432-5849.

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Q.   When is a building inspection required?

Building Inspections are required during each stage of construction to ensure compliance with construction codes and building plans. Inspections are required at the following stages:

  • Footings before backfilling
  • Foundation wall before backfilling
  • Fireplace before insulating
  • Framing before enclosing (after electrical and plumbing inspections are approved)
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning before enclosing
  • Insulation before enclosing
  • Fire Protection equipment before enclosing
  • Final (Certificate of Occupancy) upon completing of all other inspections.

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Q.   Whom do I call about a building in disrepair?

Contact the building inspector in the municipality in which the structure is located.

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Q.   Can anyone do work on my house or must they be licensed?

The answer to this question will depend upon the type of work being done.  Whenever possible, it is best to use a licensed contractor.  For specific information about what licenses will be required of the contractor working on your home, contact the building department of the specific municipality in which you live.  Click Here for a list of municipal contacts.

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Q.   Are there any regulations regarding the location and height of fences and walls?

Some municipalities place restrictions on the maximum height of fences and walls.  Additionally, they may require that these structures be placed at a certain distance from useable windows for fire safety reasons.  You will need to check with the building/zoning department of the municipality where the structure will be located to determine what regulations apply and also whether a permit for construction is required.  Click Here for municipality contact information.

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Q.   My neighbor is building an addition to their home without a permit. What can be done?

To report an instance of building without a permit, call both the building and zoning department of your municipality and the Dutchess County Health Department, Environmental Services Division at (845) 486-3404.

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Q.   What is a Certificate of Occupancy, how do I obtain one?

The Certificate of Occupancy is the municipality's assurance to a prospective buyer or owner that a building or home is legally occupied and that it conforms to zoning, minimum repair and maintenance standards as of the date the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.  You must have a valid Building Permit before you can apply for this Certificate. An owner or his representative can obtain an application for Certificate of Occupancy from the building department in the municipality in which the structure is located.

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Q.   Do I need a building permit to install a pool? Am I required to put a fence around it?

You need a building permit to install any pool capable of holding 24 or more inches of water, even if it is a temporary inflatable pool, you are required to put a fence around it.

The residential code of New York State (Appendix G, Sections AG101 through AG105) contains numerous very specific and stringent requirements for pool fencing, gates and locks—including specific rules about the exact measurement that fence openings can be, what kind of latching mechanisms the gate must have, the direction that the gate must swing, the spacing requirements for decorative cutouts, the grading of the land area around the fence, and much more.

To make sure that you are in compliance with state law, contact your local building inspector or code enforcement officer prior to installation of any pool.

Contact your municipality for the name and number of your local building inspector or code enforcement officer.  Click Here for a list of contacts.
 

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Q.   Where do I call for a building inspection?

Contact the building inspector in the municipality where the building is located.  Click on the link below for a list of municipal contacts:
  http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/Municipalities/MUNtownstable.htm.

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Q.   What inspections are required when buying or selling a house; where can I find information about home inspections?

Contact the building inspector in the municipality in which the structure is located.

For more information, visit the New York State Office of the Attorney General's Home Buying Tips

For further information on licensing requirements for home inspectors, visit the New York State Association of Home Inspectors website.

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Q.   Do I need a permit for a storage shed?

Most municipalities will require a permit if you are erecting a storage shed.  Call the building and zoning department for your municipality to find out what the specific regulations are.  Click Here for a list of municipal contacts.

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Q.   How can I report a zoning violation?

Contact the zoning administrator or code enforcement officer in the municipality in which zoning violation has occurred.

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Q.   Who can I call for questions regarding zoning?

Zoning regulations vary by municipality.  Contact the zoning administrator in the municipality in which zoning issue is located.

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Q.   Can I subdivide my property?

Zoning regulations vary by municipality.  Contact the zoning administrator in the municipality in which the property is located. 

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Q.   Why does a lot approval matter?

You must have approval prior to building a septic system and house.  Click Here for information regarding building permits, certificates of occupancy, and lot approvals.

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Q.   What makes a lot approval invalid?

Natural and manmade problems can invalidate a map. For example, removing (mining) the soil from the proposed septic area invalidates the map since the soils which the approval was based on are no longer there. Changes in drainage can cause a lot to be wetter now than when the approval was granted. Conditions regarding ground and surface water would no longer be met. Occasionally, mistakes were made while drafting the plans. Misrepresentations and/or errors on a map invalidate the approval.

Check to see that the map has been legally filed with the Dutchess County Clerk's Office. Even though a map may be stamped by DCDOH, it is not valid until it is filed.  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

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Q.   How do I hook up to a public water service or sewer system?

There are many different entities that provide water and sewer service in Dutchess County. Each system has its own set of requirements for hook-ups and you must contact the entity that operates the system that has the ability to provide service to your property to determine their requirements. Generally the local municipal (Town, Village or City) office will be able to provide the information regarding which system services which properties in their municipality as long as they have a specific address or tax parcel number.

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Q.   How long does a lot approval last?

Plans approved since 1985 expire 5 years from the date of approval. The owner of the lot can request an extension of the approval (up to 3 years). The lot will be evaluated by the Dutchess County Department of Health and the original approval may be extended.

Plans approved before 1985 generally do not have expiration dates, however, you will be required to demonstrate compliance with all the conditions of approval on the map.   Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

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Q.   What is BOHA (Board of Health Approval)?

This is a common abbreviation for "Board of Health Approval" of a lot. Technically speaking, it should be Department of Health Approval.   Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

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Q.   How much does a lot approval cost?

DCDOH charges a per lot review and inspection fee, as listed in our fee schedule. Your engineer, survey, testing, and construction will also cost money.

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Q.   How long does it take to get my lot approved?

This depends on the complexity of the project and may take months. However, our goal is to have the initial review of the submitted plans within 2 to 4 weeks.  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

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Q.   What permits and/or approvals are required for me to add a bedroom to my home?

Most home alterations require a building permit from your town.  Towns require Dutchess County Department of Health approval prior to issuance of a building permit.  If your lot is approved, check the approval to see what conditions are required for your septic system for the total number of bedrooms in your home and addition.  If your lot is not approved or your approval is for fewer bedrooms than you desire, you will have to get a new approval.  Click Here for more information regarding building permits, certificates of occupancy and lot approvals.

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Q.   How do I get my lot approved?

Hire a NYS licensed Professional Engineer. They can be found in the yellow pages under Engineers, Professional; Engineers, Consulting; Engineers, Civil; or Engineers, Sanitary. Registered Architects and Land Surveyors with an N exemption may also design septic systems. Your engineer will complete a design for your septic system and well location onto a blueprint. The design will be based on the size of your house (number of bedrooms), the topography of the land, the neighboring wells and septic systems, and the type of soil on the lot (including depth to rock or groundwater).  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

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Q.   My lot approval expired. What can I do?

The lot owner can request an extension of approval. Send a letter with your name, return address, and enough information to find your old approval (tax map number, subdivision name and lot number, street are useful).  You may also use our HD-164 form.   

Send to: DCDOH
             Environmental Health
             387 Main Street
             Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

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Q.   How can I receive future Bids or RFP notices?

All vendors who wish to receive notification of Bid and/or RFP opportunities must register on the regional bid notification system for the Empire State Purchasing Group. Vendors with internet access can register online by visiting the Empire State Purchasing Group website - click on the Register button and follow the prompts.  More information can be found by clicking on the "Bidding Opportunities and Vendor Registration" item on the left side of the Division of Central Service homepage. For vendors without internet access, you may call BidNet at 1-800-835-4603 ext. 1 (Vendor Support Department) and they will be happy to register you over the telephone.

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Q.   Some vehicles at the County auction of surplus vehicles and equipment have "NO TITLE" written on the windshield. Will a title be issued at a later date?

No. If a vehicle has "NO TITLE" written on the windshield, you will not be able to register this vehicle. Such a vehicle would only be useful if you intend to use it offroad or for parts. If a vehicle has "WAITING FOR TITLE" written on the windshield, this means that we are in the process of obtaining the title through the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). However, it may take a few weeks before the title arrives.

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Q.   Can anyone bid in the County auction of surplus vehicles and equipment?

Anyone of legal age may participate in the auction. You must pre-register at the auction hall prior to bidding. Once registered, you will be issued a bidder number. Buyers must also sign the Terms of Sale at this time.

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Q.   What do I need in order to do business with the County and what is the process?

Vendors seeking information about county contracts can request specific details and register for any future bids of interest.  Copies of the Dutchess County Vendor Procedures Manual (.pdf) are also available.  View Bid Information for further information.

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Q.   Some vehicles at the County auction of surplus vehicles and equipment have "MV-906A" written on the windshield. What does this mean?

These are vehicles that were taken off the streets of Poughkeepsie due to the owners failing to pay outstanding tickets. Since these are confiscated vehicles, no title is available. The buyer of such a vehicle will receive an MV-906A. This form, issued by the City of Poughkeepsie police, will allow you to obtain a title when taken to DMV.

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Q.   May I fax my bid proposal and/or submit my bid proposal online?

New York State General Municipal Law 103-d requires that all Bid/RFP proposals be delivered in a sealed envelope by the time and date indicated in the specifications. However, all Request for Quotes may be submitted via fax or online. The purchase cost for Quotes is generally under $20,000.

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Q.   How much time do I have to pay for items I purchased at the County auction of surplus vehicles and equipment?

All purchases must be paid in full promptly after the auction ends.  Checks are acceptable forms of payment. Checks DO NOT need to be certified. Unfortunately, the County is not able to accept credit cards as payment. Upon receipt of payment, the buyer will receive a bill of sale, the vehicle's title and any other pertinent paperwork.

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Q.   How do I obtain a copy of a bidder's proposal for a past bid?

Once a bid and/or RFP has been awarded, and in some cases, a required signed formal contract, you may obtain a copy of submitted proposals by sending a letter making such a request to Dutchess County Division of Central Services, 27 High Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 or by email: purchasing@dutchessny.gov  We will promptly respond to your request, according to the Freedom of Information Law. Our per page cost to copy is $0.25.

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Q.   I've purchased a vehicle from the County auction, but I want another person's name on the paperwork. Can this be done?

No. Once registered, you are the legal purchaser. All paperwork will be made out with the name that corresponds to the bidder number.

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Q.   Are mechanical problems disclosed for vehicles and equipment offered for sale at the County auction?

Yes. Any known defects (other than obviously visible defects) are noted on the vehicle's windshield prior to sale. However, this is not a guarantee that these are the only defects.  The County sells all vehicles "as is". No warranty of any type is expressed or implied.

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Q.   What items are offered for sale at the County auction of surplus vehicles and equipment?

The auction normally contains a variety of motor vehicles including passenger cars, police vehicles, vans of various sizes, pickup trucks, etc. Special use vehicles may also be included. This includes buses, large dump trucks, highway equipment, loaders, trailers, salt spreaders, snow plows, etc. Miscellaneous items may also be offered for sale. This may include auto parts, chainsaws, compressors, and shop tools.

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Q.   I've purchased a vehicle from the County auction, can I get a blank title?

No. By law, the title must be filled out with the name of the purchaser at the time of sale. The County will not issue a blank title.

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Q.   Will a catalog of County surplus auction items be available?

Yes. A catalog will be available at the Dutchess County Automotive Center, 570 Salt Point Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, NY, on the first preview day.

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Q.   Some items in the County surplus vehicle and equipment auction catalog have a disclaimer that says "NOT OWNED BY DUTCHESS COUNTY". What does this mean?

The County allows other municipalities and agencies to place vehicles in the auction. The disclaimer simply means that this is a vehicle that belongs to someone other than Dutchess County. As a consequence, the County is not able to provide a repair history on such a vehicle.

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Q.   I've purchased a vehicle from the County auction, what do I have to do to receive my vehicle?

Simply bring your bill of sale to the Auto Center. This will verify that you are the rightful owner. County personnel will then provide the keys and assist you in removing your property.  All keys are kept at the Auto Center and are not given out until the buyer is ready to remove the vehicle from County property.  County personnel are generally at the Auto Center for approximately one hour after the last buyer has paid for an auctioned item.  The County generally allows ten (10) business days to remove purchased auction items. Anything remaining on County property after that time is subject to storage charges.

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Q.   When is the County auction of surplus vehicles and equipment held?

The County auction is usually held sometime between mid-August and late October, although necessity may dictate an earlier or later time.  The County auction is conducted at the Absolute Auction Center, 45 South Avenue, Pleasant Valley, NY. Auction information is posted on their website at www.absoluteauctionrealty.com.

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Q.   Are the surplus vehicles and equipment available for inspection prior to the County auction?

Yes. All items in the auction are available for public inspection at least two days prior to the sale. Vehicles can be inspected at the Dutchess County Automotive Center, 570 Salt Point Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, NY (next to BOCES). On occasion, some items may be at a distant location. Prospective buyers may open the hoods and inspect the vehicle as thoroughly as desired. However, we do not hand out keys so that you may start the vehicles. County personnel will start the vehicles approximately three hours prior to sale so that buyers may see that the vehicle does indeed run.

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Q.   Who do I call to report a faulty meter on a gas pump?

Report suspected inaccuracies or violations to:
Dutchess County Division of Weights and Measures, 98 Peach Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, (845)486-2949; Fax (845)486-2947; e-Mail weightsandmeasures@co.dutchess.ny.us.

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Q.   Does Dutchess County ever offer its surplus equipment to other municipalities?

Recycled items that have been declared surplus equipment by Dutchess County are initially offered free to Dutchess County Departments only. Items that are not claimed are then offered free to municipalities of Dutchess County.

Please see Central Services Recycled Equipment webpage for a list of recycled equipment and how to obtain these items.

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Q.   Does the Major Projects Report track new construction only?

No.  Although the Major Projects Report is generally intended to track new construction, in some cases projects that represent a significant change in the use of existing structures will be included.  Only projects meeting a certain criteria are included.  For more information, visit our Publications and Maps webpage and click on the latest Major Projects Report. 

To receive the Major Projects Report by mail, please contact Planning and Development at (845) 486-3600.  There is a $6.00 charge to cover printing, postage and handling.

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Q.   Are there any opportunities for development at the Dutchess County Airport?

Yes.  In fact, there are a number of parcels available at the Airport for commercial development. Visit our Development Opportunities page for parcel information.

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Q.   Do I need a license to purchase and sell gold, silver and other precious metals?

Yes.  All establishments in Dutchess County engaging in the purchase of gold, silver, and other precious metals are licensed through the Dutchess County Division of Weights and Measures.

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Q.   What types of development applications is the County required to review?

Development applications to city, town, and village municipal boards that must, according to State Law, be sent to the county are those applications that involve property within 500 feet of any one of the following:

A municipal boundary;
A county or state, existing or proposed, road;
A county or state, existing or proposed, park or recreation area;
A county or state owned property, existing or proposed, on which a public building or institution is located, and;
A farm operation located in a designated agricultural district (does not apply to area variances).

View The Zoning Referral Process (.pdf) for more information.

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Q.   Is it possible to get a photo of an aerial view of my property?

You can obtain an aerial view of your parcel from the Dutchess County Real Property Tax Service Agency, located at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie.  The agency has four terminals at their front counter that are available to the public for viewing and printing parcel images.  The Dutchess County Clerk's Office, located at 22 Market Street (2nd floor), Poughkeepsie also has terminals that can access this data.  Additionally, every town hall in Dutchess County has access to this information; however, you will need to contact each individually to determine whether facilities are available for public access.  For more information, contact the Real Property Tax Service Agency at (845) 486-2140. 

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Q.   Where can I get an aerial photograph of my community?

Printed aerials are available from Dutchess County Real Property Tax Service Agency (845) 486-2140.  From the left navigation menu, click on "Products and Services" then "RPTSA Price List" for pricing information on aerial photography, tax maps, election district maps, agriculture district maps, legislative district maps, highway maps and various other items.

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