Economic 'team' forming to steer
Story by Dan Hust
MONTICELLO July 23, 2013 From a new economic development group to a planned solar array at SUNY Sullivan, legislators threw the switches on a range of efforts at Thursday’s full Legislature meeting.
Unanimously (with Jonthan Rouis absent), legislators agreed to create an Economic Development Plan Steering Committee to take over the creation of an economic development master plan from the now-defunct Economic Development Corporation.
Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson had dissolved the corporation more than a year ago, though many members continue to meet with him in private.
But a federal grant to aid in the master plan’s creation requires a $43,000 match from the county, which chose to meet that match via an in-kind service from the corporation members namely in the form of work on the plan at $63.50 an hour (not actually paid to the members but applied toward that $43,000 total).
Now a group of new and familiar faces will continue that work as the Economic Development Plan Steering Committee: Samuelson, Acting County Manager Josh Potosek, Legislator Alan Sorensen, Partnership President Marc Baez, Chamber Board Chair Guy Baker, IDA Board Chair Ira Steingart, Visitors Association Board Chair Paul Carlucci, Cornell Cooperative Extension Executive Director Greg Sandor, SUNY Sullivan President Karin Hilgersom, Workforce Development Director Laura Quigley, and legislator-chosen residents Amanda Ward, Darlene Fedun, George Kinne, Tom Kappner, Nadia Rajsz, Andrea Reynosa, Norman Graves, Latisha Rodriguez, Dennis Caro, Dick Riseling and Dave Thomson.
After continued wrangling over who the already-adopted new ethics code should apply to, legislators agreed to amend it to allow the Board of Ethics to subpoena witnesses in ethics complaints.
A public hearing on that amendment will be held Thursday, August 15 at 1:15 p.m. at the Government Center in Monticello.
In the meantime, legislators will continue to review a list of who is subject to the code’s financial disclosure requirement. Legislators Alan Sorensen and Kathy LaBuda were ready to vote on the list Thursday, but Legislator Cindy Gieger wanted time to review it.
Since it was a late-file resolution (not having come through a committee), a vote on it would have needed all nine legislators’ assent, which was not forthcoming.
Delaware on Delaware
The newly-formed nonprofit called the Delaware Company struck its first deal with the county on Thursday, earning unanimous approval to collaborate with the Division of Public Works (DPW) to come up with “needed/desirable projects” that could enhance county facilities like Fort Delaware in Narrowsburg and the Minisink Battleground in Minisink Ford.
The Delaware Company will undertake and fund any such projects, but the Legislature will retain final approval.
Solar at Sullivan
SUNY Sullivan is working with a Virginia-based company called HelioSage to develop a nine-acre solar array at its Loch Sheldrake campus.
To be located on the site of the formerly proposed Green Tech Park, the array would sit on land owned by the county, requiring a “tripartite” agreement.
Legislators on Thursday authorized County Attorney Sam Yasgur to draw one up, but they heeded the advice of Grahamsville resident Ken Walter, who keenly remembers the college’s participation in an ultimately unsuccessful prototype windmill.
He convinced legislators to make the entire Legislature, not just Chairman Scott Samuelson, responsible for approving the agreement’s execution.
Comment on college budget
A public hearing will be held on the proposed 2013-2014 SUNY Sullivan budget.
Speakers are welcome on Thursday, August 15 at 1:45 p.m. at the Government Center in Monticello.
For more information on the $16.8 million budget (which doesn’t raise tuition rates), contact the Legislature at 807-0435 or the college at 434-5750.
A plan for the jail
Legislators on Thursday unanimously approved a corrective action plan required by the state after the Comptroller’s Office issued a report urging the county to build a new jail sooner rather than later.
Now, county officials are meeting privately to hammer out a proposal on a new jail, with Legislator Kathy LaBuda promising their recommendation(s) will be made public at the August 8 meeting of the Public Works Committee (set for 10:15 a.m. at the Government Center).
Legislators chose one of three projects for which to seek out competitive grants through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process.
Worried that the other two ideas would require commitments of time and money that the county doesn’t currently have, legislators chose solely to apply for a $20,000 state technical assistance grant.
Utilizing $7,500 from Sullivan Renaissance and $6,500 in in-kind services from the county, the grant would help the county and Village of Monticello identify landlords willing to invest in Broadway and give officials the tools to make economic development of the somewhat barren street a reality.