Ulster County Executive Hein Calls For An End to Cahill CrisisAug 6th, 2013 | By HV Insider | Category: Featured Articles
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein has signed Resolution No. 185 which the Ulster County Legislature passed unanimously on July 23, 2013. The resolution codifies the County’s intention to absorb the cost of the New York State-mandated Safety Net Program over a three year period. This resolution is consistent with the County Executive’s existing plan to bring relief to the Towns and the City of Kingston.
“My administration was pleased to develop a solution to the decades old problem of State-mandated safety net costs last year, and in its first year of implementation it is on pace to save the Towns and the City of Kingston approximately $2 million,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. “I am also pleased to recognize Legislators Donaldson, Provenzano and Loughran who have long advocated for this change. In fact, the entire Ulster County Legislature showed their commitment to this policy by passing Resolution No. 185 unanimously, and I commend them. I was also pleased that they made multiple unanimous votes in support of keeping Ulster County’s sales tax level.”
He continued, “After years of debate and deadlock regarding the Safety Net issue, my administration designed a solution to address this State-mandated expense. Unfortunately, as a result of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill’s recent blockage of Ulster County’s routine home rule request for an extension of sales tax, millions in County, City and town revenues are at risk. Though the damage to essential services could be lasting, the human cost of the “Cahill Crisis” may be the worst part of all. People will lose their jobs unnecessarily – public safety will be compromised unnecessarily – and our most vulnerable citizens will be negativity impacted…again unnecessarily, all because of Assembly Cahill’s blockage. Sales tax is paid by everyone, including visitors to Ulster County and is utilized to offset property taxes and provide support for public safety. And so I add my voice to that of Senators Larkin and Tkaczyk, Ulster County Comptroller Auerback, Kingston Mayor Gallo, and the Ulster County Legislature as well as others, in calling upon Assemblyman Cahill to stop jeopardizing the towns and the City of Kingston, but most of all, to stop jeopardizing the property taxpayers of Ulster County and fix what he has broken.”
After giving verbal commitments to Ulster County Legislators, Assemblyman Cahill appears to be backpedaling by signaling publicly on Friday that Resolution 185 may not be enough to satisfy his demands upon the County taxpayers and that he would be seeking further financial commitments. Additionally, he has stated publicly that a special session of the New York State Assembly to address his blockage of the County’s sales tax extension will be unlikely in 2013 resulting in the guaranteed loss of $6,000,000 in revenue, as well as, crushing losses for the City of Kingston and Ulster County’s towns.
“It is unfortunate that in addition to focusing on how Ulster County and the City of Kingston best serve our citizens, we must turn our attention to dealing with the devastation caused by the ‘Cahill Crisis,’” said City of Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo. “The massive loss in revenue will certainly result in layoffs, reductions to contracts, and hits to essential services. Kevin is a true expert in Albany doublespeak; this isn’t about Safety Net or anything else. What this is all about is Kevin trying to control local governments. And he is putting citizens at risk in the process.”
Ulster County Legislature Hector Rodriguez added, “I am pleased to see the Safety Net burden assumed at the County level. As everyone knows, the County Legislature had previously partnered with the County Executive to implement this three year approach. Working with the Town Supervisors and the Mayor of Kingston, we crafted a viable solution that provides the maximum relief to our property taxpayers. Now the State Assembly must follow the lead of the New York State Senate and adopt the County sales tax extension so that we can move forward.”