SCCC Funded Short
By Nathan Mayberg
Monticello August 22, 2206 A meeting of the full Sullivan County Legislature ended with the legislature formally approving a $110,000 or three percent increase in funding to Sullivan County Community College. The aid was much less than the one million dollar increase the college was seeking.
The colleges Board of Trustees went into an emergency meeting that evening and discussed how they would react. No action was taken, but the board has requested a mediation meeting with the county and the State University of New York. No date has been set.
County Legislature Chairman Chris Cunningham said yesterday that he hadnt yet been contacted about such a meeting. However, he indicated he was open to discussions and ideas on the issue.
He cited the countys grim fiscal condition as the reason the county could not support the requested aid hike. He said the county was complying with its five year plan instituted with the college three years ago, to provide a minimum of a three percent aid increase each year.
Cunningham said the countys upcoming budget planning would be very difficult
We can only give them what we can afford. We support the college.
The Chairman said the upcoming budget would likely result in programs and services being cut in order to avoid a substantial property tax increase.
He blamed the countys fiscal problems on rising costs such as fuel, health insurance, state mandates, Medicaid and labor contracts.
The county has also seen ballooning expenses at its landfill and a proposed jail which could cost anywhere from $50 million to $70 million. The countys budget rose last year by $27 million.
The colleges total aid from the county will now be $3,787,413. The college was seeking a county share of $4,723,393. The colleges total budget was $15,476,669 last year. They were proposing a budget of $16,500,000.
The legislature also approved a $108,000 contract with Stephen Lynch for a financial advisory plan over the next three years on Thursday.
Lynch, who has been hired several times before to do consulting work on the countys landfill, will answer the question as to if and how the county will pay for its pending capital projects of the county jail and landfill.
Altogether, the construction of both the landfill and jail are being estimated to cost a total of between $90 million and $120 million.
Lynch is also asking for consideration to develop a recycling plan, financial management plan for landfill construction costs, and methane gas project consultation. Those services would all cost more than his $108,000 contract.
In other county business, there was some major good news from County Treasurer Ira Cohen, who reported that real property tax collection was up $2.2 million over the previous year so far. Sales tax collection was up $900,000 over 2005.
The legislature also approved a $90,800 contract with the Nemiroff Group of Connecticut to re-line the existing steel showers at the jail.
A $56,000 contract with PS TEK was unanimously approved as well. The new software system will allow county departments to track civil service exams and personnel actions.