Room Tax Changed By County
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Legislators put a range of items into action at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the full County Legislature.
Foremost among the resolutions was one to enact Local Law No. 6 of 2007, which would amend the hotel/motel room occupancy tax.
Minus absent Vice Chair Jonathan Rouis, legislators unanimously approved reducing the 5 percent tax on 100 percent of the lodging price to a 5 percent tax on 60 percent (making provision for the American/European plans at local resorts, which often include far more than just a room in their posted prices).
Still, legislators agreed they want to get it down to 5 percent on 50 percent of the price. But since that measure will take some time to effect, legislators agreed to this enactment as “immediate relief” for hoteliers already struggling with a simultaneous increase in the sales tax.
Sullivan County Community College’s 2007-2008 budget was approved unanimously as well.
The $16.5 million budget features nearly $4 million from the county, a 3 percent increase over last year not as high as college officials hoped, lamenting at the SCCC board meeting later in the day that Sullivan is near the bottom statewide when it comes to the percentage of home county funding for community colleges.
Legislators also unanimously adopted the revised affirmative action policy for county government and approved setting a public hearing for a proposed enactment of the policy into law.
The hearing is set for August 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Legislative Hearing Room at the SC Government Center in Monticello.
The long-anticipated restructuring of the county’s Electrical Licensing Board which oversees the examination and licensing of area electricians was approved unanimously on Thursday, too.
While Public Safety Commissioner Richard Martinkovic will remain on the board, joining him will be NYSEG’s John Klaben Jr., county DPW employee John Connelly, electrician Jim Rose and Bethel Code Enforcement Officer Tim Dexter, all with terms ending on July 19, 2009.
A sixth non-voting seat will be filled by the new board when it first meets.
Security cameras will be increased by about 20 around county property. Legislators unanimously approved awarding a contract to P.N. Fire and Burglar Alarms Company to design and install the cameras for no more than $113,170 (almost half of which would be paid for by grants).
Legislators also authorized Dave Colavito of Rock Hill to join the Sullivan County Charter Commission and appointed Joe Czajka as the county’s Grants Coordinator, in addition to making the county project manager of the coming Cochecton Visitors’ Center.
Although their impact is uncertain, two resolutions were unanimously approved supporting the retention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) offices at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Liberty.
County officials said these offices, which provide financial and practical assistance to nearly 400 local farms, are in danger of being moved to Orange or Delaware counties creating a traveling hardship for many farmers.