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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December 27th, 2012

Sullivan County Approaches 2013

As we enter 2013, I wish I could say Sullivan County is in better shape than we were last year, but we are not. Despite new faces running our legislature, very little has changed
Foreclosures are at record highs while economic development and employment prospects remain scarce. There is nothing in terms of mandate relief on the horizon to get us out of the Medicaid catastrophe.

The honeymoon period for our new legislature is noticeably over. It is becoming as dysfunctional as their counterparts in Albany and Washington. When legislators speak their mind or are in disagreement with their legislative Chairman they should not be called “Despicable” or be scolded.

What was despicable though was the budget process. Legislators are entitled to receive up to date financial information and be included in line item discussions.

The process that resulted in the 8.91 percent property tax hike was shameful, even though many of the cutbacks are laudable. Slashing conflict legal aid was long overdue.

Whether David Fanslau remains our County Manager is uncertain. A majority of our legislators have expressed a desire not to renew his expiring contract.

One bright spot in 2012 was the hire of Social Services Commissioner Randy Parker. He is realigning his department while ensuring those who legitimately need public assistance receive it.

The SCVA will continue to promote tourism for at least another year after the legislature’s botched up and unprofessional RFP process. The handling of another RFP involving an outside accounting firm is now being questioned.

The short lived Economic Development Corporation dissolved because board members refused to participate in disclosure requirements. It is now an advisory board.

As our IDA continually comes under heat, items such as the Apollo Plaza redevelopment have seen little movement.

We can bet 2013 will be the year voters finally approve legalized gaming, and with any luck, the Concord project will be the catalyst towards revitalization.

The Center for Discovery will construct a Regional Children’s Assessment Center creating jobs.

Sullivan County finally has our own sitting Supreme Court Justice with the election of Stephan Schick.

The 2013 campaign season is expected to be steamy with Sheriff, DA, Treasurer, and town supervisors up for grabs. It remains uncertain if anyone runs against Sheriff Michael Schiff, District Attorney Jim Farrell, or Treasurer Ira Cohen.

Police Chiefs Douglas Solomon, Robert Mir, Scott Kinne, Simmie Williams, among others are being floated as potential sheriff candidates.

If Cohen does not seek reelection or moves into another position, Deputy Nancy Buck will be the Republican candidate, while while others are being touted as the Democratic.

We can expect several supervisors to step down including Thompson’s Anthony Cellini. Former Councilman Bill Rieber will seek the Democratic nod and Jerry Fielding the Republican’s. Councilwoman Sharon Jankiewicz is considering a run against Town Judge Marty Miller.

Our firefighters, law enforcement, and members of civic and religious organizations continually go above and beyond their call of duty for us. We saw that first hand with the devastating fire at the Grandview Palace.

The Grandview will remain in the news as insurance companies are refusing to pay claims and instead are pointing fingers at the Town of Fallsburg. The hydrofracking debate will also remain in the spotlight.

I pray Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s legislation “Paula’s Law,” named after my sister Paula, requiring surveillance cameras be placed outside of state run group homes and day programs to protect our most vulnerable is passed in 2013.

My New Year’s resolution to you is that I will continue roaring about the issues because I really do care about Sullivan County.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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