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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October 18th, 2019

Legislators Don’t Give a Rat’s Ass About Us – Approval of $4.5 Million Visitor’s Center is Proof

With Election Day just two weeks away from Tuesday – It is clear our legislators don’t give a rat’s ass about the taxpayers of Sullivan County.

They should be ashamed of themselves on their vote for purchasing property that is partly a swamp land and voting to approve a $4.5 million Visitor’s Center. But they claim they have no money to share with our Towns and Villages.

Indeed, There is no need to go to Brooklyn to buy a bridge – When our elected officials we can buy some swamp land for $495,000.

Voters must speak out on Tuesday November 5th – Enough is Enough!

Only legislators Nadia Rajsz, Luis Alvarez, and Kathy Owens voted against the Sullivan County Visitor’s Association’s proposal.

Rajsz said she could not vote for the visitor’s center and pointed to her constituents who are outraged. “We need to listen to the people we represent,” Rajsz said.

Owens who was also vocal in opposition to the Visitor’s Center is unfortunately not seeking reelection, but Samara Ferris who is running on the Democratic line supports the Visitor’s Center. Republican Nick Salamone is against the visitors center.

Alvarez voted for the purchase of the property claiming that the land was worth more than the purchase price. In reality – according to industry experts, the property is worth less than what the County is paying out.

Alvarez told me he could not vote for the Visitor’s Center because there is not enough information on the proposal, its need, and there are questions as to why the visitor’s association contract is never put out for bid.

Leading the bandwagon to approve the Visitor’s Center is nonother than Scott Samuelson who is busy with the new Eldred Preserve tourist project,

Robert Doherty who is running against Samuelson is openly campaigning against the Visitor’s Center.

Longtime legislator Alan Sorensen on Thursday spoke about the need for a Tourism Center. Voters have an option on Election Day with Monticello Trustee George Nikolados.

Legislator Joe Perrello who sits on the IDA Board voted in favor, former legislator Gene Benson who is running against Perrello in the past has been a vocal critic of the Visitor’s Association.

Legislator Ira Steingart is running unopposed, while Terri Ward and Mark McCarthy are not seeking reelection. So, voter input means very little there.

There needs to be accountability.

Who in the world in 2019 needs a Visitor’s Center? No one stops at Visitor’s Centers except to use their bathrooms. They are outdated. There is something called the Internet where people do their own tourism research.

Nobody going directly to a casino or waterpark, just an exit away, is even going to get off the highway and stop at a Visitor’s Center in Rock Hill.

For some reason the Sullivan County Visitor’s Association is treated by Sullivan County Government Officials as if they were God.

County Manager Josh Potosek has never even demanded that the contract, yes contract, goes up for bid.

We forget that we have a County Manager, not a County Executive, and the legislators are just one vote of nine taking direction from the County Manager.

The only time the tourism contract went up for bid was over eight years ago when I was part of a group that demanded that the contract be put out for public bid. And, we were defamed and slandered in doing so – because God Forbid anyone try to present a different perspective to marketing our tourism than the Sullivan County Visitor’s Association.

What is further outrageous is that our government has a contract with a 501c3 that then uses the money for a 501c6. But, according to some they think they are an authority and can’t be touched by the county.

Plain and simple – Do what other Counties do – Have a Tourism Division as part of our County like other counties successfully do in our state. Do it inhouse!

Last I looked – Orange County was getting Legoland, Orange County was getting a new gaming facility, Orange County has a premier outlet shopping center.

What do we have? Doves and more Doves. And, even that was political.

Our legislators are so conned by the Visitor’s Association that they don’t understand when you build a casino resort, waterpark, and yoga center there will be an increase in tourism because those facilities will be doing their own marketing and people will be coming there.

And, we see how successful how Resort’s World and the Y01 Yoga Center are.

In a slap in the face to all of Sullivan County – the Visitor’s Association is not even open at their Liberty location on weekends during the summer – the height of the tourism season. Yet we should keep rewarding them.

Then comes the argument about the room tax and it needs to go to the Visitor’s Association and Sullivan County is just the courier of the funds. Baloney.

As Owens said “My constituents vehemently prefer that we approach our representatives at the Albany legislature to have the room tax reallocated with more returned to the taxpayers; and that if we build a visitors center, we locate it at one or more entrances to the county; and without monetary grandiosity. I believe I speak for constituents and taxpayers throughout the county.”

The Sullivan County Legislature should be ashamed of themselves. Thank you – Nadia Rajsz, Kathy Owens, and Luis Alvarez for at least doing the right thing.

Voters – Speak out on Tuesday November 5th – If you don’t – there is no one else to blame.

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.

2 comments to Legislators Don’t Give a Rat’s Ass About Us – Approval of $4.5 Million Visitor’s Center is Proof

  • Mort Segal

    Waste of money

  • Steve Gastwirth

    No need for an overpriced ill conceived visitor center ,what is needed are reasons to visit the region other than fishing or hunting. The “‘Borscht Belt” years are long gone and Bethel Woods, the casino and the water park have yet to prove that they are the stimulus that the area needs for economic recovery.
    The area needs to attract some form of new industry and a visitors center is meaningless if there is not much to visit.!!

    Open space is great but the region has an abundance of it. Perhaps the future holds the possibility of a high speed rail or a travel link to NYC which can stimulate the growth of the region as a new suburb in the same way that Long Island, North Jersey, Orange County, and more recently the Pocono’s have have evolved.

    I have witnessed the “Golden Years” of the region and would love to see it become vibrant and thrive once again but I’m not sure I’ll get to see that happen—–hoping for the best however.