“Newburgh Heights didn’t get this way overnight,” Elkins explains. “It took 30 years of not planning for the long term to get to a place where we were very nearly insolvent… We aggressively went after public money for sewers, roads, demolitions. [We] did foundation work quickly and aggressively to show residents even though it’s long term, you can see tangible short-term success that will lay a foundation to layer these growth incentives on top. Start with incentives, you put them on top of nothing.”
Elkins said one of his main objectives in filing the lawsuit was to show the story was “bogus.” “Judge Friedman’s opinion expressly confirms all of this, and in light of this recognition, we’ve concluded that it is no longer worth undertaking the burden and expense of this lawsuit any further," Elkins said in a statement. "In our view, it has been a success. We also hope it is now clear that recovering Village funds from legally obligated insurance companies is just good policy.”
"I served my three years [on the RTA board] in the way that I know how," he told Scene by phone. "I tried to shake up the status quo and challenge the way we were operating. The county's choice seems to be a return to the status quo. I think they just don't understand how important this transit agency is to the region economically."
During Elkins’ three years with RTA, he helped delay a proposed fare hike, questioned outsourcing, and vainly pushed for a local sales tax hike. He also helped work out the departure last March of long-time President George Dixon III amid allegations of taking undeserved RTA heathcare benefits and the phasing out of former General Manager Joe Calabrese, now a senior advisor due to leave in 2020.