What's new in the Upper Delaware region February 4-10
MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff and Sullivan County Treasurer Nancy Buck announced the start of their re-election campaigns at a joint press conference on February 1.
Schiff, a Liberty native and former state trooper of 28 years, was first elected sheriff in 2006, succeeding retired sheriff Dan Hogue. Schiff is running on the campaign slogan “Law Enforcement for the 21st Century,” saying that he has modernized his office since first getting elected.
Buck is running for her second full term as county treasurer. She was appointed to the position in 2014 to fill a vacancy after the death of then-treasurer Ira Cohen. Buck then ran in 2015 to finish the unexpired term and ran for the full four-year term in 2017. Buck served as deputy treasurer for 14 years and is an executive board member of the New York State Association-Counties Women’s Leadership Council.
ALBANY, NY — The New York State Department of State and the Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) recently warned New Yorkers of an email phishing scheme in which recipients are asked to verify their profile to avoid experiencing delays and future problems in renewing their license. The messages link to a non-listed URL. Anyone who received such an email should delete it right away.
Phishing emails are fraudulent messages scammers use to obtain data or sensitive personal information. That information can be used to commit identity theft or trick the recipient into installing malicious software onto a computer or mobile device.
To help protect against email and cell phone scams, DCP recommends the following precautions: inspect the sender’s information to confirm the message was generated from a legitimate source; keep an eye out for poor spelling or grammar, the use of threats and unmatching links; do not click on links embedded in an unsolicited message from an unverified source; do not send your personal information via text; and do not post sensitive information online. The less information you post, the less data you make available to a cybercriminal for use in developing a potential attack or scams.
NEW YORK CITY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that assuming New York State’s COVID-19 infection rate stays on its current trajectory, indoor dining in New York City can reopen at 25 percent capacity on Valentine’s Day. The reopening will be subject to strict state guidance.
The governor also announced that marriage receptions will be able to resume in accordance with state guidance on Monday, March 15. Events must be approved by the local health department. There will be a 50 percent capacity limit and no more than 150 people can attend the event. All patrons must be tested prior to the event.
“The restaurant industry is the lifeblood of New York City and the economic hardship they have endured at the hands of COVID-19 is nothing short of tragic,” Cuomo said. “Thankfully, if our current trajectory holds, we will be able to reopen New York City dining at 25 percent capacity on Valentine’s Day.”
HARRISBURG, PA — Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced his 2021 agenda, placing priorities on COVID-19 recovery and government reform. Some of the governor’s top goals include the following: allocate $145 million to Pennsylvania businesses; invest in public infrastructure, including school buildings; increase the minimum wage to $12/hour, with a path to $15/hour; legalize adult-use cannabis; and increase transparency in Harrisburg.
Wolf used the language “build on bipartisan progress” to describe his priorities. But soon after his announcement, Republican House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff released a statement of his own criticizing the agenda as a whole, calling it “as disappointing as it was unsurprising.”
“The governor and his administration should have no other top priority than getting Pennsylvanians vaccinated. Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of the country in terms of vaccine deployment efficiency, and the confusing and short-sighted guidance from the administration has caused significant public angst,” Benninghoff said.
SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Last week, U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) met with Sullivan County officials to discuss sustainability initiatives and federal funding. Delgado spoke virtually with Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Robert Doherty, county manager Josh Potosek, and sustainability coordinator Heather Brown about Sullivan County farming, infrastructure and small business programs.
“Sullivan County’s sustainability initiatives strengthen our local economy and protect our planet,” Delgado said. “Congress must provide robust federal investment to build rural areas back better. My bill, the Rebuild Rural Act, would deliver dollars directly to counties like Sullivan to finance local programs.”
“This legislature and county administration are focused on moving Sullivan County forward, and that includes starting an ambitious composting program, greatly expanding our trails system, and establishing and growing a thriving industrial hemp industry,” Doherty said.
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA — To ensure transparency of economic aid programs, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released data summarizing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan approvals made through January 24. The SBA re-opened the PPP January 11 with $284 billion appropriated through the Economic Aid Act. So far, in this round of funding, more than 15,000 loans valued at more than $1.58 billion have been approved in Pennsylvania.
Nationally, more than 400,000 loans valued at more than $35 billion have been approved this round. Overall, the average loan size is $87,000. Accumulatively, all PPP loans approved in 2020 combined with this round total more than 5.5 million PPP loans totaling $557.8 billion.
The full report, found on www.sba.gov, includes national information on lender types, loan sizes, industries and borrower demographics. More information about SBA relief funding is available at www.sba.gov/coronavirusrelief.
SYRACUSE, NY — Due to the national COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets or wage garnishments, and refer foreclosures to the Department of Justice.
USDA will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop judicial foreclosures and evictions on accounts that were previously referred to the Department of Justice. Additionally, USDA has extended deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers. In addition, for the guaranteed loan program, flexibilities have been made available to lenders to assist in servicing their customers.
According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers—approximately 10 percent of all borrowers—are eligible for the announced relief.