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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February 22nd, 2013

Uproar Surrounding The Monticello Motor Club

To some the Monticello Motor Club is an elitist playground for the rich and famous that infringes on the rights of its neighbors and deprives them of a serene quality of life.

To others there is outrage that the private entity receives tax abatements. In 2011 the Monticello Motor Club received more than a $3 million tax exemption — $1,081,550 in school taxes, $527,800 plus $1,635,300 in town and county taxes.

Yet to others, the Monticello Motor Club is a big economic boon for Sullivan County. Just by being here makes them a big asset to our tourism industry. Who could disagree? The owners hire locally, purchase locally, and are committed to our well being and future economic growth. Their multimillion dollar investment in the motor club speaks for itself. And, so does their support of our community.

Not-for-profit organizations received more than $275,000 in contributions of cash and in-kind donations from the Monticello Motor Club in 2012, with over $200,000 of those funds assisting local youth. To critics it might be a pittance considering their tax abatements – nonetheless organizations such as The Center for Discovery, Allyson Whitney Foundation, the Liberty Soap Box Derby, and the Hospice of Orange and Sullivan benefited from these offerings.

The owners of the Monticello Motor Club are now planning a nearly $45 million expansion over the next ten years, and loud objections are coming from surrounding homeowners who claim noise levels are unbearable. They insist there can be no further growth until something is done to stop the racket.

The Town of Thompson Planning Board will soon be deciding on the proposal that includes constructing condominiums, a larger clubhouse, private garages, and an infrastructure that would enable them to host professional races. Plans also include longer pits, a parking paddock and a trolley to shuttle observers.

Although several bed and breakfasts and establishments like The Sullivan have benefited from the motor club, there still remains a dire need for lodging members and guests right here in Sullivan County.

We are a depressed county, and don’t think for one minute the people who visit the motor club aren’t aware of it. They know very well that the bulk of our lodging facilities are used to house sex offenders, the homeless, and families on section 8.

In a perfect world, members and guests of the motor club would want to stay here for extended periods of time and partake in our other amenities such as golfing and fishing, dining, and visiting entertainment venues such as Bethel Woods, but unfortunately that is not usually the norm.

In a perfect world, we would have a plan to lure the motor club’s wealthy members and guests to become part of our community and economy and potentially get them to purchase country homes in Sullivan County, but that is too much to expect from our lackluster leadership.

In any event, the owners of the Monticello Motor Club along with those who reside in the surrounding neighborhoods are good caring credible people and all parties must sit down and work out a compromise. There has to be an amicable solution that everyone can live with.

The Monticello Motor Club’s expansion is a welcomed positive move for Sullivan County and its economy.

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