Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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March 18th, 2011

Rouis responds to Cohen’s attacks

Sullivan County is one of the most depressed counties in New York State, so it should surprise no one that we are in a fiscal crisis. Despite all the attacks and condemnation county officials have been undergoing in recent weeks, legislature chairman Jonathan Rouis has been nothing but honest and realistic with us, and his State of The County address proved that.


Rouis is angry over all the attacks, especially those coming from Treasurer Ira Cohen.


He points out to me that the Legislature hosts monthly committee meetings on Thursdays, and “I invite any and all residents with creative ideas and constructive suggestions to attend one of those meetings, get informed and share your suggestions. And for those that would prefer to grandstand and fuel a negative and divisive culture, please stop. Your political circus act is detracting attention from the real work and real issues our residents need us to focus on.”


Rouis told me he felt obligated to respond specifically to the attacks levied by Cohen against County officials.


Discussing the capital plan for public works, Rouis said, “The acceleration of the paving program in 2010 allowed for the county to realize a bonding cost of less than 4.25% and we were able to take advantage of asphalt pricing that had dipped. Just one year later, long-term municipal rates have jumped to over 5.5 % and oil, which drives the price of asphalt, has risen from $65 a barrel to over a $100 barrel. This single action allowed for the pavement of 86 miles of road and the replacement of much-needed DPW equipment, much less expensively than if done this year or moving forward.”


Taking exception to Cohen’s remarks that “the landfill evolved from a state of the art revenue generator to a mismanaged, odor spewing environmental nightmare,” Rouis says, “The operation of the Landfill was flawed from Day One. The County imported trash for less than the landfill space and labor was worth, and the revenue generated was not used to pay off the landfill debt, but was instead used to keep the property tax rates at an artificially-low rate. Now there’s no more landfill space and we’ve still got substantial debt associated with it. This is a burden we inherited as legislators from our predecessors, and it should be noted, five of the members of this Legislature are responsible for ending this cycle nearly 7 years ago.”


Rouis says the Jail project is not dead, but moving through appropriate channels. “We have obtained a site and are concluding a final design. Ira seems to ignore the facts that our jail is more than 100 years old and is literally crumbling. While Ira pontificates from the comforts of his stained glass office in the government center, we have dedicated men and women working in that facility that deserve proper working conditions.”


And, as for Cohen’s attack on the handling of SCCC, Rouis adds, “This is nothing more than a cheap shot meant to incite unrest. As Ira well knows, the issue surrounding the energy efficiency project at the college was reviewed completely and proper actions are being taken by SCCC officials.”


Next week the State of the County.


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