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Cochecton and revenue sharing

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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Disappointment, disgust and a sense of betrayal were expressed by the Cochecton Town Board at its March 13 meeting. A letter, dated March 1 and signed by Sullivan County Legislature Chair Luis Alvarez, was responsible for the board’s feelings. Supervisor Gary Maas summed up the board’s attitude, “[Alvarez] stood right there on February 13 and told us in his “state-of-the-county” address that we would share in the sales tax derived from the Resorts World Catskills casino.” The letter says otherwise.

It started with, “As you well know, there have been ongoing discussions about sharing sales-tax revenue or casino ‘host community’ funds with Sullivan County’s towns and villages. Those conversations have been helpful and worthwhile. This legislature, on whose behalf I’m writing, remains committed to sharing resources with our local municipalities in the form of personnel, equipment, technical expertise and the like.” And it concluded with, “Shifting money from one pocket to another—as the revenue-sharing concept proposes—does not ultimately provide relief to the taxpayer. We owe it to them to create and deliver innovative, cost-effective methods of sharing resources and services.”

The middle portion of the letter described the county’s plan for using sales tax monies derived from the casino to pay county employee salaries, maintain existing county infrastructure, fund new county infrastructure projects and subsidize Sullivan County Community College’s local student enrollments.

Turning away from county business, the board began discussing town projects. First up were the town’s two dove signs commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Sullivan County Visitors Association selected designs from a portfolio of samples assembled by Cochecton’s Nutshell Arts Center. One will be placed on Route 17B in the vicinity of the Fosterdale Motor Lodge, the other across from the Cochecton Men’s Club baseball field. Maas expects the signs to be in place by May 1. Asked how long they will be displayed, Maas said, “indefinitely.” The town will spend approximately $450 for paint and supplies to create the signs. Additionally, updated welcome signs will soon greet visitors to the town on the three major highways serving it: Route 17B, State Highway 52 and Scenic Byway Route 97.

The July Yankees-Mets game trip sponsored by the youth commission still has 20 seats available. For more information, or to register, see www.townofcochectonny.org/boards-meetings/youth-commission.

Highway superintendent Kevin Esselman announced that an upcoming retirement will create a full-time highway department employee vacancy. The position will be posted soon.

Groundbreaking for the recreation complex planned near Solly Katzoff Memorial Park in Lake Huntington, to be jointly sponsored by the town and its youth commission, will take place this spring, provided ample funding is secured. Maas said the town is seeking a local grant requiring in-kind servicing by the applicant; that requirement could be met by highway department excavation, landscaping and paving services. A suggestion from the gallery mentioned the possibility of a Sullivan Renaissance grant.

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