Sullivan County briefly

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 6/16/21

MONTICELLO, NY — Each month, Sullivan County holds committee meetings, led by legislators and featuring reports by the relevant commissioners.

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Sullivan County briefly

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MONTICELLO, NY — Each month, Sullivan County holds committee meetings, led by legislators and featuring reports by the relevant commissioners.

The second week of meetings usually includes committee meetings for management and budget, parks, agriculture and sustainability policy, public works, and health and family services.

You can watch them yourself on the county’s meeting page at www.sullivancountyny.iqm2.com/Citizens/Calendar.aspx.

Broadband service provided

“I’ve finally got all the equipment in,” reported county IT commissioner Lorne Green during the management and budget committee meeting on Thursday, June 10.

In two weeks, there will be IP addresses, which will move the initiative to provide broadband coverage to the county.

“That’s a good step,” Green said. Cell coverage is a problem too.

“This isn’t you,” legislative committee chair George Conklin commented as he reported that people in his very rural district had many complaints about their cell service and cable internet. “There’s such a huge usage because there are so many more people here during the week and on weekends... What can we do to ease up the infrastructure? We’re going to be at a point where the cell towers will be so overloaded.”

“You’re held hostage to the major carriers,” Green told him. The carriers need to have the will and desire, he said, to put up antennae. “Private and public towers are available.”

“We have thousands of people coming here,” said legislator Nadia Rajsz. “And they all have cellphones... but the private companies say they don’t have enough users [to improve infrastructure]. I’m not sure what data they use.” What happens if there’s an emergency, she asked. Can a message get through?

“That’s the beauty of the broadband project,” Green said. It will address the problem. But in the meantime, “It’s a conversation for the carriers. We can ask the question, but the carrier has to choose to make the change.”

“We’re working with the major reps,” said county manager Josh Potosek. Private companies might build towers or rent county towers; EMS coordinator Alex Rau can get grants; the county and towns can source funding. “I think we’re making progress.”

“There’s a lot at play,” said legislator Mike Brooks. “This is going to be quite a process to get it done.” And the newcomers will help create density that might draw more carriers.

“We’re working as fast and hard as we can,” Green said.

Honoring Robert Kaplan

The county honored retired poultry farmer Robert Kaplan during the parks and sustainability committee meeting for his nearly three decades of service as the head of the Sullivan County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board.

Kaplan co-ran family business K-Brand Farms and Egg University in Glen Wild.

“Kaplan helped numerous farms with agricultural district reviews and issues, assisted with different right-to-farm disputes, developed agricultural and farmland protection plans, and served as a mentor for the farming community,” the county said on its Facebook page. “He also worked with and for Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District.”

Committee chair Luis Alvarez presented Kaplan with a certificate.

“You’ve been the most rational, experienced person,” said Rajsz. “Maybe we should give you another 29 years.”

The wall will fall; it cannot withstand the legislature for long

Last Thursday, during the special meeting, legislator Nadia Rajsz asked for the barrier that separates the legislative dais from the audience to come down.

It was originally put in place, staff said because members of the audience were shuffling through legislators’ papers while lawmakers were elsewhere.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Rajsz said, then quipped: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!”

“I feel like we’re in a zoo here,” legislator Joe Perrello added.

“Can I take a piece of it home?” one legislator asked, amid general laughter.

The chairman weighed in. “No,” he said.

It was still up during the health and family services committee meeting. See page 4.

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