WALTON, NY — Flood relief funding is currently available for Catskill region farmers through the Raise the Roof Donation Fund. These are small grants available to farms that suffered flood damage or product loss during Hurricane Irene and/or Tropical Storm Lee. A first round of $15,000 in funding has been completed. The second round of funding is open between December 15 and January 15, 2012. Applications can be obtained from the Scholarships & Grants section of the Pure Catskills webpage online at www.purecatskills.com, or by contacting Challey Comer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607/865-7090. Read more
WASHINGTON, DC — The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2011, federal legislation to help protect the Delaware River Basin, has passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. A companion bill is still in committee in the House of Representatives. Read more
With expressions of mutual respect and gratitude, the Town of Highland honored its retiring highway superintendent, Norman Sutherland, at its monthly meeting on December 13. Town supervisor Andrew Boyar roasted Sutherland at the meeting’s end with a series of gag gifts and a humorous account of Sutherland’s history and successful service to the town. Read more
In a bit of end-of-the-term merriment, the Sullivan County Legislature bestowed Gadfly awards on two county residents whose activism in certain areas led to significant changes. One award went to Dave Colavito, who was instrumental in tightening and expanding disclosure requirements that county legislators and other officials must adhere to. Read more
MONGAUP VALLEY — This scene from Santa’s Village reflects not only the festive atmosphere of the holiday season but also the spirit of giving that is a large part of the celebration. Last weekend, for the third year in a row, David Dunlap of Hilltop Homes, helped by volunteers from the community, pulled together Santa’s Village for a two-day, where children and adults alike marveled at the many lights and displays, and donated gifts to Toys for Tots. For more on the event, go to Jonathan Fox’s column http://www.riverreporteronline.com/column/my-humble-opinion/15/2011/12/2...
The Town of Bethel, which has been more aggressive than most in Sullivan County when it comes to clearing away eye-sore buildings, took another step in that direction when a public hearing was set for January 4 over the demolition of a building in Swan Lake. Read more
The six lots on 39 acres adjacent to Route 17 at exit 99 are at the heart of a controversy in the Town of Liberty. In 2006, the Town of Liberty, together with the Village of Liberty, began the process of creating a joint comprehensive plan. In 2008, the committee working on the plan produced a map in which it was proposed, among many other things, that the zoning of the parcel be changed from industrial commercial (IC) to residential. Read more
In a surprising move, the Sullivan County Legislature voted six to three on December 15 to reject the budget they have spent months working on. The legislators did not come up with a new budget by December 20; therefore the tentative budget, which was submitted by county manager David Fanslau on November 16, automatically became the adopted budget. Read more
WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Maurice Hinchey has joined several of his U.S. House colleagues in introducing the Postal Service Protection Act, legislation designed to alleviate the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) immediate financial crisis and prevent the layoff of thousands of USPS employees nationwide. Read more
PIKE COUNTY, PA — For the fourth year in a row, the Pike County budget has no increase in property taxes.
The total receipts and balance will stand at $47,502,869. The millage stands at 16.29.
“We are in very good shape financially,” said Commissioner Karl Wagner. “We are seeing neighboring counties like Monroe increasing the millage by four mills. We were able to carry over $1.3 million from last year which we did not spend. Many counties are losing or lessening their pension fund. We are not. We set aside one quarter of a mill for debt service. It’s unprecedented.” Read more
ALBANY, NY — Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted to change the way economic development was pursued in the state, so he created 10 Regional Economic Development Councils, which all competed for $785 million through an application process. The 720 projects that won grants from all 10 regions were announced on December 8. Read more
Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD) has been providing consulting services to Sullivan County for the past year, but the cost of the contract for 2012, about $45,000, was not included in the tentative budget produced by county manager David Fanslau. Read more
While this lovely scene transpired during Hawley’s Winterfest last weekend, seasonal events continue to abound throughout the Upper Delaware River region as the holiday season moves along. Check out what’s happening on our Arts & Leisure section and in Where and When. Please remember to make every effort to support local vendors with your holiday shopping.
Anyone looking for detailed information about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new tax plan could have learned a lot from the lengthy and complex presentation given by Frank Mauro, the executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. Mauro spoke at a meeting called Forum on Tax Relief and Reform at the Hurleyville Firehouse on December 12. Read more
“No one wants drilling in Lumberland,” Catskill Farms developer Charles Petersheim told a standing-room-only crowd at the Lumberland Town Hall on December 12. Judging by the multitude of comments delivered at the Town of Lumberland’s public hearing on its proposed zoning re-write, opposition to natural gas extraction and the industrialization that accompanies it is undeniably strong. Read more
PAVILLION, WY — For years, the gas drilling industry has been adamant that there’s never been an incident in which it was proved that hydraulic fracturing has caused contamination in ground water. Perhaps that is why the drilling industry and its supporters have pushed back so forcefully against a draft report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), released on December 8, which links fracking and groundwater contamination in Pavillion, WY. Read more