By Matt Youngfrau
SULLIVAN COUNTY October 21, 2003 District 3 consists of the Town of Rockland, most of Neversink, and the northern part of Liberty. The current incumbent is Republican/Conservative Greg Goldstein. His opponent is former County Coroner Elwin Woody Wood.
Greg Goldstein is proud of the fact that he is a lifelong resident of the county. He grew up in Roscoe and now lives in Neversink. While he has been the Sullivan County Republican Chair for more than a decade, he felt the need last year to get more involved.
We have to control the growth in Sullivan County, Goldstein remarked. We have begun the Master Plan. It will affect every town and address proper growth.
Since Goldstein has been in office for the last year, he has helped to secure many grants for his district, including $125,000 for sidewalks and beautification in Livingston Manor, $7,500 for a playground in the Neversink Fire District, $3,000 each for the Roscoe and Livingston Manor Renaissance programs, $25,000 for the Daniel Pierce Library Building Fund, $10,000 for the O&W Railroad Trout Car, and $50,000 for sidewalks in Long Eddy.
Lately, the Democrats have accused the Republicans of making key decisions behind closed doors. They vow to make the Legislature more open and accessible.
Goldstein denies these claims.
We are more open than the previous regime, Goldstein said. All of my phone numbers are out there. People get ahold of me all the time. Anyone who says that I am not accessible does not know Greg Goldstein.
Last year, there was controversy over the raising of the sales tax.
I was in favor of a three-quarters percent sales tax increase, Goldstein said. For next year, the County Manager has proposed a 5 percent real property increase and possible layoffs. We do not want to burden the taxpayers of Sullivan County. I am concerned that seniors will pay their tax bills before they pay for their medicine, fuel, and food. I do not want to be responsible for that.
Goldstein has long been a proponent for Indian gaming.
It belongs in Thompson, Goldstein stated. It compliments the environment.
Another big issue facing the county is the landfill.
It was dumped on us, and we have to deal with the issues, commented Goldstein. We have to look at importation and the revenue loss if we stop it.
Still . . .
We have a very bright future, he said. Crystal Run is bringing in over 300 jobs. It will develop and continue. The whole county is poised for growth, and we must do it properly.
Goldstein and his wife Linda live in Neversink. They have two sons. In fact, his son, Eric, has come back to help Goldstein run the family business, Misner Insurance Agency.
Elwin Woody Wood
Like his opponent, Elwin Wood is a lifelong resident of the county. Also like his opponent, he has been very involved in the local community.
I will always be available and accessible, Wood commented. I will work for the people and help them solve their problems. This is not a personal race I respect Greg. I will not make promises that cant be kept. I will steer the county the right way and be honest.
When the sales tax was raised last year, Wood decided he wanted to run.
Up here [in Roscoe], the sales tax hike had quite an effect, Wood recalled. I felt it was time to step back in and work for the people.
Wood stated that the sales tax was raised to spread the cost amongst all the summer visitors and residents. Wood pointed out that the majority of sales tax is received between September and December.
The proposed property tax, as a real estate agent, really bothers him.
This will hurt the younger generation and the senior citizens. It will deter people from buying houses.
Wood is a believer in economic growth.
It has to compliment the area, not burden it, Wood stated. If it comes in, taxes should be cut. We should not burden the taxpayers.
Also, we cannot lay off county employees, Wood continued. We could send a memo to the departments and ask the workers to work four days instead of five. We lay off people, they go to social services, we will have a snowball effect. I am against layoffs. We need to save money, and we can do that by looking inside the government. We have to take care of our employees.
Wood has been impressed with the beautiful land in his district.
Growth is coming, commented Wood. There is a lot of natural beauty here. The whole district is thriving. However, it is fragile. We cannot deter growth. We just have to offset rising costs. Lets get down and dirty. We can cut expenditures and not hurt government services.
Wood is not against gaming. However, he does advise caution.
It must benefit the area, Wood said. The jobs must be union. We have to get local people in. It has to generate revenue and be balanced so it does not hurt the area.
Wood then tackled the landfill.
It has to be addressed, Wood remarked. The solution will not come overnight. We have to look for other ways to get revenue and wean off importation.
Wood would like to see more open government. He suggests night meetings in various parts of the county.
I will be easy to find, Wood said. Ill set up at least one day a month in Parksville and Neversink. My numbers are in the book, and I will be available.
And Consumer Affairs needs to be reinstated. We should have contractors licensed. It will pay for itself, he said.
Wood reflected on his fellow Democratic candidates.
We have a good group, Wood stated. We have become very familiar with each other over the last six to eight months. We will start to work right away and put our plans into action.
Wood owns Lambrigger Realty. He lives in Roscoe and is married with three children.