By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO July 17, 2001 The Sullivan County Legislature has recently been preparing for their payment of the tobacco securitization. Later this summer, the county will receive its share of approximately $13 million, and discussion over what to do with the money took place at the Financial Management Committee meeting on Thursday, July 5.
The decisions made at that meeting were put in the form of resolutions that came before the Executive Committee on Thursday, July 12. It was decided to use most of the money for debt defeasance. The money will pay off outstanding 1975 Public Improvement Bonds, 1983 Various Purpose Bonds, 1986 Public Improvement Bonds, 1989 Public Improvement Bonds, and the 1999 Public Improvement Bonds. Any money left will be used for Bond Anticipation Notes.
Once those bonds are paid off, more money will be freed up in the general fund. The county has committed to giving 10 percent of the money toward education, health-related, and anti-smoking programs. That comes to $1,750,000 over an 18-year span. That becomes about $85,000 a year.
Those two resolutions passed the Executive Committee. Now they will go before the full board for approval on Thursday, July 19.
What is currently being done to educate people on the dangers of tobacco was discussed during the recent Health and Family Services Committee meeting. An overview of the Sullivan County Tobacco Task Force was given by Director of Public Health Carol Ryan and Task Force Coordinator Jaye Johnson. Johnson is fairly new, so Ryan did the brief presentation.
The Task Force meets monthly and has over 40 members. Their objectives are broken down into four specific categories: Promote Quitting Among Adults and Youth, Prevent Initiation Among Youth, Identify and Reduce Disparities Among Populations, and to Reduce Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).
Ryan then went into specifics on the four topics. Community General Hospital and the Recovery Center offer smoking cessation programs. There are education programs at Monticello, Liberty, Tri-Valley, and Eldred, and there are commercials on cable and a website (www.sctobaccofree.org).
Legislators applauded their efforts. They did request that the officials change the name to the Anti-Tobacco Task Force. They also asked for a more detailed report during budget time (around October) to get further funding for the program.