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 15th, 2016

Fixing Sullivan County

While some people would have us all believe that things in Sullivan County are improving – We all know the unfortunate truth – We are one of the poorest and unhealthiest counties in New York State.

Things are so bad that Sullivan County has lost more of its population than any other place in New York State.  

Indeed – there are a lot of people working hard to improve things here. And there are signs of improvement – but it all takes time.

One major problem is that there has been no real long term planning for constructive change, and when there was, nothing was followed through.

Although there are diverse people and organizations working towards positive productive change – There is no uniformity amongst those working for improvement. One hand does no know what that other hand is doing.

Like many of us, Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez is angry with all of our negative statistics and he wants to see some drastic changes.

On Tuesday April 19, 2016 at 10 AM, Alvarez along with his fellow legislators are calling a Special Executive Committee Meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature in the Legislative Hearing Room to discuss a Five (5) Year Plan for Sullivan County.

That’s right – A five-year plan to work hard to improve the conditions in Sullivan County.

I sat down with Alvarez to discuss his innovative plan that includes this initial summit to bring everyone together working towards one common goal.

The plan brings together all government agencies and community partners with focus areas on economic development, quality of life, tourism and secondary homes, agriculture, and diversity and inclusion.

The focus areas are then broken down into sub categories that include goals and those agencies and community partners working towards those goals.

“We want to bring everyone together so we can all work together and know what everyone is doing,” Alvarez told me. “Through discussion and working together we can change our quality of life.”

“When the casino opens, we are going to have an average of four million tourists coming here and a lot of those people might want to purchase a second home here. We are a beautiful county and we can make it attractive to the secondary homeowner market,” Alvarez said.

“We need to fix our infrastructure and repair our bridges and roads, and build on what attracts people to Sullivan County. We need to work hard to bring economic development and new jobs here.  We can turn our quality of life around and improve our health ranking through planning and setting goals.” Alvarez added.

Sullivan County Legislative Vice Chair Nadia Rajsz told me, “Sullivan County needs a road map, a plan for the next few years to help guide us into the future.”

Rajsz said, “We should ask ourselves: What will we look like in 5 years, how can Sullivan become a better county, what should we be doing to make it a better place, how should we be preparing, what jobs or industry should we be encouraging?”

“However, as we develop this plan, the main focus should be HEALTH,” Rajsz noted. “All of the goals in the plan should tie back in to health: environmental health, social health, mental health, physical health, financial health, etc. Our industry, businesses, construction, energy, jobs and anything that we incorporate into our plan should all have a health focus. This will ensure a better life in a better county for our future residents – our children.”

For legislator Joseph Perrello the most important part of a five-year plan must include economic development. “Once people have the right employment opportunities I know things will quickly begin to turn around for the better and quality of life issues will improve.”

Perrello told me, “When people earn an honest living and can afford to pay their bills and taxes, much of their stress is relieved and their approach towards life is different.”

“I am very excited to begin the process in putting a realistic plan and achievable goals into place,” Perrello added.

Legislator Terri Ward told me that “It’s imperative that we act now in order to build a proactive approach to our County and what lies ahead for us. If there is nothing else we, as a governing body, get accomplished during our service here it is the laying the solid groundwork for the future of our county.”

Hopefully through confronting and tackling these serious issues and working together we can find improvement.   

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on 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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