By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Sullivan County’s new Legislature spent much of Tuesday and Thursday learning about the inner workings of county government.
On Tuesday, a parade of county officials explained to legislators (minus an absent Kitty Vetter) how they and their departments operate, often inviting the six new legislators to visit their offices.
“We’re setting up tours for the Civil and Patrol Divisions [at the Sheriff’s Office] and the county jail,” noted District 6 Legislator Cora Edwards, who now chairs the Public Safety Committee.
Cheesemobile for sale
At Tuesday’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, Planning Commissioner Luiz Aragon told legislators that the county’s Cheesemobile is for sale.
“We’re giving preference to local folks,” he said, with a minimum bid of $12,000 due by February 29.
The initial bid deadline had been January 27, but District 5 Legislator Cindy Gieger said some of her constituents lamented that that wasn’t enough time to submit a bid.
Currently located in Grahamsville, the Cheesemobile is a transportable cheesemaking cave. For more information or to make a bid, call the Planning Division at 807-0527 (ask for Jennifer Mall) or visit www.co.sullivan.ny.us.
SASD may remain
The 2012 county budget currently has no funding allocated to continue the contract with Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD), but Gieger said that will change soon.
“I will put forth a resolution to reinstate funding for the SASD,” she told her colleagues at Tuesday’s Sustainability Policy Committee meeting.
Legislators last year had agreed to give SASD about $25,000 for 2012 instead of the $45,000 it received in 2011, but their inaction on adopting the budget meant that not even that $25,000 was made available.
The new Legislature, however, seems interested in finding funds in the new budget to maintain SASD’s green energy research services and programs for homes and businesses.
A new consortium
Sustainability Policy Committee members also unanimously agreed to help form the Mid-Hudson Sustainability Planning Consortium.
County Manager David Fanslau will sign an intermunicipal agreement with his counterparts in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess and Putnam counties, the Town of Greenburgh and the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition (NWEAC) to create the consortium.
It will be tasked with preparing and implementing a regional sustainability plan specifically to take action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.
Heather Brown of Sullivan County’s Office of Sustainable Energy said the creation of the consortium is being funded by a $1 million state grant Orange County received via the recent Regional Economic Development Council competition.
Sullivan County will have one official representative on the consortium (likely to be SASD’s Dick Riseling), with up to three other locals on subcommittees. They will be tasked with completing their work by the end of the year.
Aragon told legislators on Tuesday that the Economic Development Corporation, of which he is executive director, is seeking an economic development consultant to provide a suggested path tailored to Sullivan County.
He promised the consultant won’t duplicate numerous existing economic studies and suggestions.
“It’s about creating ideas we can actually implement,” Aragon said.
The consultant’s hiring and employment will be covered by a $50,000 state grant, he added.