Alvarez delivers upbeat Sullivan state of county

TOWN OF BETHEL, NY — Luis Alvarez, chair of the Sullivan County Legislature, liberally peppered his remarks with superlatives as he delivered his State of Sullivan County Address at the Sullivan County International Airport on January 24.

He noted that the airport first opened its doors 50 years ago, and some of the first patrons to meander through were rock stars including Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix making their way to the Woodstock stages on Max Yasgur’s farm just a few miles away.

Alvarez marveled at the thought that the county is “basically at full employment, in the dead of winter when we historically have always seen a dip.” The county’s employment rate is currently hovering around  three percent, which does not include people who aren’t looking for jobs.

He attributed this good fortune to the opening of Resorts World, Y01 Wellness Center, the coming of the Kartrite Resort and Indoor Water Park, the Eldred Preserve and the Chatwal Lodge in Bethel.

And people are visiting and moving into the county in record numbers. “As a result of all this activity, we’ve got at least three name-brand mid-range hotels and three large housing projects—over 1,000 living units—beginning construction this year.”

In the area of tourism, said the county chair, “Four million people... visited Sullivan County this past year. And with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock coming, the Sullivan County Visitors Association is hoping to double that figure this year.”

In terms of revenue to county coffers, the figures are among the best ever seen. The county’s inventory of single-family homes has doubled, with sales up five percent over last year.

The county collected $800,000 dollars in mortgage taxes in 2018, $100,000 dollars more than in 2017. Room taxes totaled $1.2 million, up $300,000 over 2017. The county collected $45 million in sales taxes, representing an increase of $150 million in taxable sales over 2017.

Numerous county officials and elected officials from the towns of Thompson, Liberty and Bethel applauded enthusiastically as Alvarez ticked off the numbers, with reason to look forward to a robust tourist season as the weather starts to turn warmer.

For commentary on the county address, 
see the Publisher’s Log, “Holding the whole,”


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