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October 20, 2014
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January 2014

Your local property taxes; The second in a series of articles

The first article in this series (published in the December 26, 2013 issue of The River Reporter) focused on the comparative cost burden of Sullivan County’s property taxes. It revealed a sobering fact: measured as a ratio of the incomes of the county’s residents, our property taxes rank among the very highest in the entire country. Indeed, our “property tax effort”—our ability to pay—places our taxes in the top 1% nationwide. Property taxes take almost 7% of the annual incomes of Sullivan County residents, while typical homeowners elsewhere in our nation pay less than half this much.  Read more

Tourism in the age of casinos; The challenge of retaining local charm and scenic natural assets

By ALAN SORENSEN

With the prospect of at least one casino destination resort coming to Sullivan County, it is not too early to begin to plan for the transition from “Desperation Economics” (i.e. taking any economic development that comes our way) to “Growth Management” where we begin to shape new development to enhance our built environment.  Read more

Ongoing dialog with Senator Bonacic: an open letter

To Senator Bonacic:

Thank you for your response to my concerns re: the new group of addicted gamblers that will result from more gambling “opportunities” in Sullivan County.  Read more

Short changing (students) us all

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $137 billion budget plan for 2014-2015 includes an $807 million increase for education (up 3.8% over last fiscal year), with $608 earmarked as school aid for the state’s 709 school districts and $100 million to fund pre-Kindergarten programs, as part of a five-year, $1.5 billion initiative to establish universal, full-day pre-Kindergarten statewide. The increase in the governor’s proposed budget, however, does not compensate for the cuts of previous years that began during the 2007-2009 recession. Many of the state’s beleaguered school districts and education advocates are calling the governor’s budget numbers woefully inadequate to stave off more rounds of cuts to staff, student programs, courses and other resources.  Read more

Pike Courthouse addition debate continues

MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Commissioners keep saying the decisions have already been made, but constituents are continuing the argument about demolishing a historic building to site an addition to the county courthouse.  Read more

A tree grows in Texas Township

TEXAS TOWNSHIP, PA — A picture taken of a tree in Amy Minnich’s yard shows that it is clearly brushing up against her chimney. She considers this a safety issue, but beyond that, the towering pine, which is owned by her neighbor, is costing her money. According to Minnich, she has had to bear the cost of replacing her rear roof three times in recent years because of damage done by pine needles collecting heavily on the roof and in the gutters.  Read more

Parksville Hamlet Committee presents zoning recommendations

LIBERTY, NY — At its regularly scheduled board meeting on January 22 (postponed from January 21) the Town of Liberty board heard about zoning recommendations for the hamlet of Parksville.  Read more

Bethel reports increased building activity in 2013; Aquatic invasive species also addressed

WHITE LAKE, NY — The year that just ended was a good one for the Town of Bethel in terms of construction and building activity. At the town meeting on January 22, Supervisor Dan Sturm went over some of the figures for 2013.  Read more

Changes at Wallenpaupack

PALMYRA TOWNSHIP — Recent changes in the Wallenpaupack Area School District include the appointment of a new board president and vice president, as well as the resignations of several athletic coaches.  Read more

Pike inmate security and state violence reduction effort

MILFORD, PA — Early last year, in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, Pennsylvania and many other states decided to take a look at how they were handling school security, bullying, gun ownership, gang violence and other issues related to violent crime.  Read more