Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 22, 2010 Issue
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Schools put budgets to vote on May 19

By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY — Mark Tuesday, May 19 on your calendar.
It’s one of the few chances you’ll get to have a say in the fiscal future of local government – in this case, public schools.
Sullivan County’s eight school districts will be holding their annual budget and board votes on that day, and we’ve collected the info you need to know before walking into the polling place.
Please note that all you have to be to be a voter is at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, a registered voter (with the county’s Board of Elections or, if you wish, just with the district), and a legal resident of the school district for at least the past 30 days.
So have a look, then have a say!
Eldred’s leaders are hoping voters will approve a $16,803,000 budget for 2009-2010, representing a 1.47 percent increase over last year’s.
Officials have pegged the tax increase at 2 percent due to salary and benefits increases.
Carol Bliefernich is running unopposed for the five-year seat currently held by Robert Warden, who is retiring.
Voters will also be asked to make two other decisions: to allow the district to collect the Sunshine Free Library’s $10,000 annual tax levy (the same as last year), and to transfer $500,000 from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund into its Capital Project Fund in order to satisfy a May 2006 voter directive to set aside $2 million for current building projects.
Polls will be open at the Junior-Senior High School along Route 55 in Eldred from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
More information can be obtained by calling the district at 456-1100, ext. 5128 or logging on to
Fallsburg is proposing a $36,499,778 budget for 2009-2010, a 1.29 percent increase over last year’s budget.
The tax increase is the largest of the eight districts within Sullivan County, coming in at 3.91 percent. That’s due, said Business Manager Dan Grecco, to an Albany-calculated reduction in state aid of $139,000.
“Everyone else [in the county] got about the same or more,” he lamented of the state aid.
Four board seats are open, with incumbents Karen Pollak and Shawn Wiles seeking re-election to their three-year terms. Ann Benson, who was appointed earlier this year to replace the late Melvyn Mednick, is running to serve the remaining two-plus years on Mednick’s term. And Valerie Sitz-Mahmoud is seeking to replace retiring board member Lorraine Lopez for the next three years. All four candidates are unopposed.
Polls will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the High School Library on County Route 52 in Fallsburg.
For further info, call the district at 434-6800, ext. 1215, or log on to
Monticello’s proposed $76,685,227 budget for 2009-2010 is 3.44 percent higher than last year’s budget and comes with a 3.85 percent tax hike, due, said Superintendent Pat Michel, to increased general expenses.
“It’s a very small tax increase, comparatively speaking,” he said, referencing the past few budget years at Monticello.
A slew of candidates are vying for just three seats open on the board, including the one occupied by the late Eugene Nesin.
Incumbent Robert Stewart is running for re-election to his three-year seat but is facing a challenge from Robert Kunis. Incumbent Jacob Billig is also running for re-election to a three-year term but is also facing competition from Robert Bellamy and Jo-Ann Peabody. Susan Purcell and Babette Ross are vying for Nesin’s seat, which comes with a two-years-plus term.
Your home will determine where you vote, but polls will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School (Election District 1) off Route 42 in Monticello, the Duggan Elementary School on Route 55 in White Lake (District 2), the Chase Elementary School (District 3) on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wurtsboro, the Rock Hill Firehouse (District 4) on County Route 58 in Rock Hill, and the Forestburgh Town Hall (District 5) on Route 42 in Forestburgh.
For more information, call the district at 794-7700, ext. 70501, or log on to

The rest of the schools will be profiled in Friday's edition.

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