The tentative 2012 budget for Sullivan County was presented at the government center on November 10, and it will use about $6.3 million out of a reported $10 million of the undedicated reserve fund. County manager David Fanslau said he constructed the budget to stay within the Albany mandated 2% property tax cap, but also to offer the same level of services to the public as in 2011, and to avoid any layoffs. Read more
Two days after the election on November 8, Sandy Shaddock was in a good mood; she said she was “ecstatic” at the results of the election. She said labor groups in general and Teamsters Local 445, which represents the largest block of county workers, in particular, backed the winning candidates in all but one of the legislative races. Read more
The Wayne Conservation District (WCD) board of directors learned at its meeting on November 9 that a new Pennsylvania manure management manual has been issued and is now in effect since its publication in the PA Bulletin on October 29. Those who handle animal manure must complete plans based on the new manual. Read more
The Honesdale Farmers’ Market is so popular that its organizers agreed to continue during the winter. In order to get out of the cold, it will move to a new space that is still in development called the Cooperage on Main Street.
The building at 1030 Main Street used to be a cooperage where barrels were manufactured in olden days; thus the name, The Cooperage, is being preserved. Read more
ROCHESTER, NY — NYSEG now has applications online for its Emergency Economic Development Programs for eligible businesses, municipalities, large residential establishments, agri-businesses and farms affected by Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. NYSEG will spend up to $7 million on these programs. Funding will be provided to eligible customers on a first come, first served basis until available funds are exhausted. Visit http://www.nyseg.com/YourBusiness/economicdev/progandincentives.html.
Due to a very tight New York State Supreme Court race for the third judicial district, which the state has given a priority to resolving, the counting of absentee ballots for town races in Sullivan County has been delayed from Wednesday, November 16 to Tuesday, November 22 at 10 a.m. Read more
The Delaware Valley Eagle Alliance, organizers of the annual EagleFest normally held in mid-January, has decided to cancel next year’s event because of the unavailability of the closed Narrowsburg school building. The announcement follows the Sullivan West Central School District’s decision to return developer Ilwon Kang’s deposit on the Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley school properties at the school board meeting two weeks ago. Pending further action on the properties’ fate, the board has decided to drain the pipes and shut them down. Read more
PA House lawmakers have joined the Senate in approving their own version of legislation related to a natural gas tax and regulations. Reconciling the differences and developing a compromise bill to provide to Governor Corbett before the year ends comes next.
See an analysis of this outcome by PA Environment Digest's David Hess, who served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from 2001 to 2003, as staff in the Pennsylvania Senate and in the former Department of Environmental Resources for over 30 years at http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/
A petition is being circulated by those who oppose the bill at signon.org/sign/petition-opposing-pa?source=s.em.cr&r_by=1548617&mailing_id=1157
PENNSYLVANIA — The state Senate on Tuesday, November 15, approved legislation to establish a statewide Marcellus Shale impact fee, and to hand over decisions related to local zoning ordinances and gas drilling to the state attorney general.
The Senate bill would levy a $50,000 per well fee in the first year that would decline to $10,000 during the 11th through 20th years. Approximately 55 percent of the revenue would go to local governments, with 45 percent allocated for statewide initiatives. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said the bill imposes an effective tax rate of 3 percent.
The House may vote today on legislation that would allow counties an optional fee.
PENNSYLVANIA — As a growing number of New York towns scramble to establish zoning protections against the industrialization that characterizes natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale, Pennsylvania residents may be seeing that opportunity traded away in exchange for a drilling impact fee as the PA legislature moves quickly on House Bill 1950. Read more
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it will form an advisory committee that will provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on the implementation of the new Planning Rule set for finalization this winter.
The Federal Advisory Committee – which could be formed early next year – will advise the Secretary on how the new rule is implemented. The U.S. Forest Service manages 155 national forests and 20 grasslands that will be affected by the new rule, which, if finalized later this year, will replace a 1982 version. Read more
HARRISBURG -- Although the Department of Environmental Protection’s regional offices will be closed Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, all state Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) will offer normal operating hours, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., to serve residents in areas affected by flooding.
Because of the shelf life on well water samples, residents who need to drop off test kits for analysis at DEP regional offices and DRCs should wait until the week of Nov. 14 to do so. Test kits can be picked up at the regional offices and DRCs during posted operating hours. Read more
PennEnvironment, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization has scheduled training to equip Pennsylvanians with the skills and information to “protect Pennsylvania's environment and communities from gas drilling.” Read more
Organizations from throughout the Delaware River Watershed cried “foul” today because the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) issued what it termed as “modified” natural gas development regulations on November 8, 2011 without any opportunity for public comment, input, or testimony concerning the changes to the draft regulations (www.drbc.net). DRBC released a draft of its proposed rules in December 2010 with a public comment period that closed April 15, 2011. A record number of comments were received by the agency on the draft - 69,800 comments - breaking all records for public involvement. Read more
Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell is warning seniors and all residents of Sullivan County about a phone scam that has been making its way around the county recently. The homeowner receives a call from someone representing themselves as a representative of Publisher’s Clearing House and advises them that they have won a substantial prize. The caller directs the “winner” to a local Wal-Mart where they can purchase a green dot money package or money order, telling victims they must first wire and pay taxes or other fees out of the advance check, before they can claim the rest of the prize. Read more
YOUNGSVILLE, NY — A study co-sponsored by Catskill Mountainkeeper Research concludes that farming in the Catskills is poised for a resurgence that could help reverse decades of regional decline, as the area becomes a more significant supplier of fresh, local food to the New York City metro area. Read more
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on November 8, published newly adjusted gas drilling regulations on its website, www.state.nj.us/drbc/. The new rules call for the development of a Natural Gas Development Plan (“NGDP”) “For Protection of High Value Water Resource Landscapes and Special Protection Waters.” Read more
The Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce have formed the Pike County Economic Alliance, a collaborative working enterprise structure between the two. The project was spearheaded by the Alliance Taskforce Committee, whose members were appointed by each organization. The committee conducted an investigation of economic support organizations in comparable counties throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Drawing upon examples of other successful working alliances in these counties, the committee developed a plan that will focus on Pike County’s economic stimulus. Read more
Representatives from several local municipalities who serve on the Pike County Marcellus Shale Taskforce made their reports to the county commissioners on November 2 Read more
The Sullivan County Legislature voted on November 3 to sell the Smallwood Golf Course property and adjacent parcels to the Bethel Local Development Corporation (BLDC). The price tag on the deal is $54,000, which will cover back taxes and fines owed on the property. Read more