Supervisor asks county to share

By FRITZ MAYER
Posted 11/26/19

MONTICELLO, NY — Tom Bose, supervisor of the Town of Callicoon, visited the monthly meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature on November 21, to once again pursue a “revenue …

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Supervisor asks county to share

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MONTICELLO, NY — Tom Bose, supervisor of the Town of Callicoon, visited the monthly meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature on November 21, to once again pursue a “revenue sharing” agreement with the county. In New York State, 46 of the 57 counties outside of New York City share some of their sales tax with towns and villages within their borders.

Sullivan town supervisors have been pushing for the past few years—especially since it was clear there was going to be increased revenues to the county because of the casino and other developments—to convince county lawmakers to share revenue with municipalities.

Bose said that in 2019, about $46 million will be collected in sales tax, and the projection for 202 is $49 million. A previous proposal put forward by the municipalities called for sharing of any sales tax revenues beyond the $40.5 million mark. Had that agreement been in place this year the Town of Callicoon would have seen an additional $125,000 in revenue. “And I can tell you $125,000 is no small amount for a small town,” he said.

In the first nine months of 2019, an estimated $2.1 million of casino revenue went to the county and the Town of Thompson, with no casino revenue going to any other municipality in the county, although neighboring counties receive a share of the revenue.

Bose noted the appropriation of $300,000 in the 2020 budget for two new buses for the new county-sponsored commercial bus service linking Monticello, Liberty and Fallsburg. He said, “I’m still waiting for the bus to come through Youngsville, Jeffersonville, North Branch and Callicoon Center.” He said he saw in the service “nothing to help our town.”

Bose noted that there is a county-owned bridge in the town, and instead of repairing or replacing it, the weight limit on the bridge has been repeatedly lowered, it’s now at four tons, which “prohibits any of our emergency service vehicles from crossing, which makes a longer response time.”

“So I ask, when you budget $300,000 for two buses [with only limited data about how useful the busses will be] and we have a bridge that’s been slated for replacement for I don’t know how long, and now we can’t cross it with emergency service vehicles, where are our priorities?”
Bose then made some observations about the recent elections. There are four newly-elected, first-term county legislators who will be seated in January. “They all campaigned on supporting revenue sharing, and opposing the visitors center,” a reference to the proposed $5 million Sullivan County Visitors to be located in Rock Hill.

Bose noted that two legislators who were re-elected opposed purchasing the land for the visitors center, while two others were narrowly returned to office. “I can only make an assumption that the voters of the county have spoken,” he said.

He also said that the visitors center will receive about $1.5 million in room tax revenue this year. He said that’s more revenue than the budgets of six of the 15 towns in the county. By next year, the room tax could be as high as $2 million. Bose said it’s time for the county to look at the 1989 state legislation, sponsored by then Sen. John Bonacic, that requires that 85 perent of the room tax go to SCVA, and considering giving some of the room tax revenue to municipalities.

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