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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April 8th, 2011

Rouis honest and blunt during county address

State of the County speeches are always a good thing, they bring to the forefront many issues. Even though they are often slanted to promote the agenda of the person delivering the sermon, they also open up the door for communication both positive and negative.

Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis was honest and blunt throughout his address. With a crackle in his voice, he realistically discussed our many problems while nothing was sugar coated. Clearly more needs to be done to improve our quality of life and economic conditions.

Rouis is unquestionably right that raising property taxes is not the answer. There is so much blood one can get from a stone.

Unfortunately, matters such as health insurance and pensions are driving municipalities into debt.

I wish labor issues and political differences could be resolved and everyone would sit down and work in unity. Unfortunately there are so many people with so many agendas.

Although Rouis acknowledges the commitment of the people of this county and their “can do” attitude, he must retool command central. He must get some fresh blood involved.

Rouis was blunt when discussing the jail, public works, and solid waste operations. In vivid detail he outlined the issues our leaders are confronting and the tough decisions they are making.

Mandated programs are bleeding our county to death. Rouis claims it costs over $20 million a year and growing by an additional $500,000 each year. “While the County is only responsible for 25% of the total costs associated with Medicaid, we at the county level have no say in the guidelines or the operation of the program. We are required to be, in effect, merely an extension of the State government and then handed a bill for 25% of costs.”

The demand for social services and the statistics are devastating. There were 5822 HEAP applications, and from 2008-2010 a 46% increase in food stamp cases, a 23% increase in families needing temporary assistance, and an 30% increase in Medicaid cases.

Without a doubt Albany needs to overhaul the mandate program. It is shameful how easy it is for people to move here and receive social services. Equally, we must never forget those who legitimately need social services.

Protecting our public health and senior citizen programs are vital, and I am glad Rouis acknowledged that.

Much credit must be given that the Sullivan County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has become a reality. The EDC will set policy and direction for our economic development and growth.

Rouis is accurate when he says we desperately need hotel space. Besides the Villa Roma and several bed and breakfasts, tourist destinations like the Motor Club and Bethel Woods really have nowhere to house their guests except for a few shady welfare motels.

I am glad Rouis placed such a great emphasis on our agricultural sector. It is indeed an integral part of our economic base.

So, if Rouis and County Officials are doing everything feasible – why is there so much dissension in Sullivan County?

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