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County and college reach agreement

By Fritz Mayer
June 22, 2011

Officials at the county and at the college have reached an agreement whereby the college will get the same $4 million it received last year from the county, but will return about $600,000.

At a meeting at the government center on June 16, Nick Speranza, a member of the board of trustees at Sullivan County Community College, told Sullivan County lawmakers that the college has a plan that would allow both sides to get most of what they wanted.

Speranza said the college would take responsibility for paying the debt service on capital projects that had been built at the college, which would amount to some $460,000 for the 2012 fiscal year. The college would also pay the county’s department of public works for paving and other work that would come to about $135,000. Together, the payments would equal the amount of savings the county sought to achieve from lowering its contribution to the college.

By structuring the agreement in this manner, a state trigger is avoided that would have resulted in a $2 million drop in funding to the college from the State University of New York, if the county had simply reduced its contribution to the college.

County manager David Fanslau said this may be a taste of things to come. He said, “Because of the pressures coming to counties, primarily because of the property tax cap, there will be very little opportunity to provide additional county money to the college, so we’re going to have a lot of creativity going into the years ahead of us to find some stability for the college.”

Other college news

Now that the experimental vertical windmill at the college has been declared essentially inoperable, work is underway to return the site to its previous condition—almost. Bob Meyer, commissioner of the public works department, presented a plan to the legislature whereby the cement foundation of the windmill, which is very thick and quite heavy, will be used as the underpinning for an emergency helicopter landing pad.

It would have been expensive to remove the foundation and, with Meyer’s plan, it will still be covered with earth and grass. But should a helicopter need to land on it, it will be able to support the weight of a chopper.