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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November 13th, 2014

Budget Process Intensifies

Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek recently released our tentative 2015 fiscal year budget that calls for a Property Tax Levy Increase of 2.23% that stays within the New York State Budget Cap.

Now the legislature is scrutinizing the 788 page document that includes:

• Total Budgetary Appropriations: $201,482,165

• Property Tax Levy: $56,838,475

• Property Tax Levy Increase: 2.23%

• County Property Tax Rate: $11.13 per thousand

• Property Tax Rate Increase: 1.7% (Less than the tax levy increase due to an increase in taxable assessed value)

• Increase in tax liability for $100,000 of assessment: $19

• New York State Tax Cap Rebate Program: Under the proposed budget all STAR eligible homeowners would receive a check from New York State equal to their increase in taxes.

• Sales Tax Anticipation: $35 million

Legislator Cindy Kurpil Gieger held a public work session this week to go over the budget and its appropriations and the Legislature has slated public hearings.

We can all celebrate this budget coming within the tax cap, but we must also question if proper funds are being appropriated for all Sullivan County Departments.

For example – the Sheriff’s Department operates under deplorable conditions. Although media and public attention is often drawn to the conditions at the jail, the Sheriff’s headquarters are equally appalling.

To this end Sheriff Michael Schiff is holding an Open House this Saturday November 15 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the sheriff’s patrol headquarters at 8 Bushnell Avenue in Monticello.

There was an attempt to house a new Sheriff’s facility adjacent to the Apollo Mall, right off the highway, but the legislature instead decided to sell that parcel along with the Apollo.

Legislator Cora Edwards who heads the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee fully understands the need for a new jail and sheriff’s headquarters. She has been advocating that construction of a new facility begins and the stonewalling stops.

The fact is the Sheriff’s Department is not alone – there are many areas where we need to see more funds allocated. Our infrastructure is in dire need of some major repairs.

Let’s not kid ourselves – this budget was put together keeping in mind that next November all nine legislative seats will be up for grabs.

We are a county that lacks leadership and direction.

We hear elected officials speak about employment opportunities and economic development – but in reality – What is being done to attract businesses here that will keep our children here?

Our elected officials are busy giving tax breaks to businesses without any written guarantees that they will bring the right types of employment opportunities.

While foods hubs and meat slaughterhouses make headlines – None of us can really expect them to turn our economic conditions around. Even the excitement of bringing us Resort Destinations with Casino Gaming is not what it once was because of over saturation of the market.

I am one of the biggest supporters of Resort Casino Destinations, but I am fearful if we are awarded two it might not go far enough.

We need to get serious about bringing real economic development to Sullivan County.

Realistically, no matter what spin we put on it, we all know that things are not good, and the budget is just a reflection of that.

According to recent statistics – Sullivan County has one of the highest poverty levels in New York State. We are one of the unhealthiest Counties, along with unemployment and foreclosures at record highs.

We must do something with our housing stock to lure taxpaying secondary homeowners here. We have too many tax exempt properties and it keeps growing.

New York is one of only two states in the nation that requires counties to send locally generated tax dollars to the State for the Medicaid programs.

The promise by state officials to relieve Counties from costly mandates has not been kept, and the County is forced to fund programs at the expense of local services.

New York State must join forty-eight other states, and to take over the full costs of Medicaid, and take the expenses off of the backs of the property taxpayers of Sullivan County.

No one wants to see property taxes increase, but no one wants to see our roads and bridges fall into disrepair either. We also need to maintain a high level of public safety in order to keep crime down so we can all feel safe and secure in our homes.

We need someone to take the lead once and for all, and work towards getting us out of the mess we are in.
The time has come for all of our elected officials, State, County, Town, and Village, to sit down and talk consolidation of government and sharing of services as a means to save tax dollars.

We need a summit to set core goals to find the means to bring us real economic development and how to attract property owners that will keep their acreage on the tax rolls.

Sullivan County has so much to offer, but we will go nowhere unless we all unite to strategize and develop a solid concrete plan of action.

To view the 2015 Tentative Sullivan County Budget please visit:

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 at and on facebook in the facebook group Sullivan County Post.


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